Challenge your balance & flexibility with Archer Pose I – a popular advanced-level Iyengar yoga pose…
Archer Pose I (Akarna Dhanurasana I) – also known as Shooting Bow Pose – is a challenging yoga pose often done in Iyengar yoga classes that helps to increase leg and hip flexibility, stretches and mobilizes your pelvic area, builds concentration and strength, massages your abdominal organs, improves digestion and detoxification, and more!
Keep in mind that when you start off with this pose, it may be quite difficult to hold your lifted leg for long. Instead, try to dynamically move your knee and elbow back and forth as you build strength.
Archer I Pose can be hard on the sacroiliac joint, so if you have scoliosis or lower back issues, you may want to avoid this pose.
Here’s how to do Archer Pose I:
1.) Begin seated with the soles of your feet together in Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose). Release from your inner groins to your inner knees, and draw your outer thighs gently back toward your outer hips. Take your hands or fingertips behind your hips, pressing them down to lift your buttocks slightly off the floor. Bring your buttocks closer to your heels and then back to the floor. Wrap your hands around your toes, and draw your shoulder blades closer to your spine. Sit upright, and look forward. Inhale into the sides of your chest, and exhale all the way down to the lower regions of your pelvic floor. After a few breaths, keep your spine straight, and exhale, tilting your torso and pelvis a little bit forward (anterior rotation). Take a few more breaths, and focus on the release of your groins and inner legs.
2.) Use your hands to lift up your outer knees, and stretch your legs out in front of you. Bend your left leg, and grip the outer edge of your left foot with your left hand. Place your right hand against your left heel. Keep your left foot at armpit height, and press your hands against your foot to rhythmically pump your left leg straight back and forth 10–15 times. This dynamic pumping brings your thigh bone deeper into the back of your hip socket and breaks up some of the stiffness in the surrounding hip and leg muscles. Focus more on the activation and less on the alignment. Change legs, and repeat on the other side.
Learn how to progress further in this pose at YogaJournal.com…