Sunday, 4 October 2015

Yoga myths and legends - Bow pose

In the Bhagavad Gita, a classic on Indian spirituality, Arjuna, a prince, faces a moral dilemma. He is on a battlefield, poised to reclaim lands stolen by his kinsmen but he knows that to do so would involve killing some of them. He turns to his charioteer, Krishna, who in the story represents his higher consciousness. Krishna advises him that he must fulfill his dharma (life purpose) and fight against evil.

Bow pose represents Arjuna's bow. It is a deep back bend, which opens our hearts to our higher consciousness. Opening our hearts in this way also enables us to be fearless in the pursuit of our dharma. Sometimes it is not easy to fulfill our dharma: we have to trust in our higher consciousness and know that ultimately our dharma is for the highest good of ourselves and others. We should not however be attached to the fruits of our actions.
Aim your bow straight and true, shoot arrows of love, peace and compassion into the world and do not let your ego get in the way of your higher consciousness.

To do Bow Pose, lie on your tummy with your arms by your sides, palms down, your forehead on the mat. Press your tailbone back to lengthen your spine. Bend both knees and reach round with both hands to take hold of your ankles. Inhale and press your feet up and back, lifting your chest from the mat. Hold for a few breaths and exhale to release. Take a Child's Pose.  

If you cannot reach you could use a yoga strap or equivalent round your ankles. 

If full Bow Pose is too much for you, try half Bow. Lie with your arms stretched forward, forehead to the mat. Bend the right knee and reach round with your right hand to hold your right ankle. Inhale and press the right foot up and back, lifting the chest from the mat.  Slide your left hand back and use the left hand to stabilise you. Exhale to release and then repeat on the other side. Take a Child's Pose when you have practiced both sides.

Again you can use a strap if you cannot reach.

Please see also the legend behind Lord of the Fishes Pose-

Janet x

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