Gratitude and the Back

When I was awakening at the Ashram this summer I learned how to keep my chest high, like a heart warrior or an opera singer. The natural outcome was to slowly release my tight stomach muscles, which felt so empowering that I have been doing it consciously ever since. Before these revelations I had thought my posture was excellent, but I was actually hiding core fears in my heart and withholding tension in my abdomen. Not the stance of a warrior at all!

For the past 2 weeks I have been practicing The Bow, a much more challenging asana for me than The Mountain. Dhanurasana brought up emotional and physical resistance so I decided HEART should be my October body part. By trying to open the doors of my spiritual centre, melting my inner barriers seemed inevitable… but for days and days evolution remained distant. Then something changed on Thursday when I looked at this photo of myself doing The Bow and saw how profoundly the back needs to bend to accommodate the drawing up and backwards of the head and feet.

FAULT: ensure toes are touching in the bow


The major place of flexibility comes from the back in this asana, for me anyway, and I could see that engaging the hips, neck, knees and shoulders was not enough. It’s my back that takes the brunt of the bend and I needed to engage it with more awareness in order to stay comfortably in The Bow and allow some true reflection time. With this wave of clarity the symbol of The Bow suddenly had more meaning. Through a channeled flow of tension there can be fluid release. Thank you back for helping me let go of old rigidity and stagnation. Obviously my body part this month is BACK.

My keyword for Dhanurasana is GRATITUDE for all my body does for me, and for the ongoing conversation my back engages me in. In hindsight I can see that it has been pointing like an arrow aimed at a bullseye to the place where I was compromised but I did not see a way out of the tension until I persevered with The Bow and heard my hidden language say “life is not meant to be a back breaking endeavour. Go into life with a grateful consciousness and you will carry yourself in a much more balanced way.”


Dhanurasana – The Bow Pose

This is more of a challenge for me than the Mountain asana. Of course, it involves deep bending and quite a bit of flexibility. I went into Dhanurasana too quickly the other day and felt sore afterwards. Now I take it slowly and listen to my body to avoid overdoing it. This is NOT a competition! Breathe and focus…

A New Month Brings A New Asana – The Bow

Our yoga pose for October is Dhanurasana, The Bow. Swami Radha‘s book, the Hidden Language of Hatha Yoga, contains reflections about aspects of The Bow that she discovered but individual Yogins must find the meaning of the asana for themselves. To get you started in the process of investigation, consider the tension and release inherent in the energy of a bow and arrow. Traditional Hindu mythology describes the bow as the OM, the arrow is the mind, and The Divine is the target. The act of concentration leads to hitting your mark, the centre of your goal.

Some of the keywords in the HLHY that may get your stream of consciousness flowing are: Rainbow, covenant, promise, warfare, Cupid, love, attachment, sensuality, desire, breaking the bow, active intelligence, flexibility, limber spine, strength, tension, relaxation, bending backward, counterbalance.