How To Do The Bow Pose

The Bow Pose got its name from the shape it takes, like an archer’s bow. This yoga pose opens and expands the chest area to increase the breathing capacity of your lungs. 

It is also a good pose to improve someones posture and helps to strengthen the entire back of the body. Many of us spend a large part of our day sitting at a desk bending over.

The bow is a great therapeutic pose to relieve tightness in the back and shoulder areas. Bow can reverse this tightness and provide relief for back and neck pain. Practicing bow on a regular basis can also help to reduce excess fat from your belly.

Bow Pose

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start by lying on your stomach with your chin on the mat, your legs extended straight behind you, and your arms at your sides.

  • Bend your knees and bring your heels up towards your buttocks as you grab hold of your ankles with both hands. Keep lifting your heels higher as you raise your thighs off of the ground, then begin to lift your upper torso off of the ground creating resistance against your legs.

  • Press your shoulders into your upper back, gaze forward, and hold the position for 30 seconds before returning to your starting position.
reclining bow pose


  • Wait until you have done a few standing yoga poses to warm your body up before trying the bow pose. It can also be used as a yoga movement to loosen you up for deeper backbend poses.

  • Keep your knees shoulder width apart or closer, letting them swing out can cause issues with your lower back.
  • You can place a blanket under your hip bones for extra padding if needed for this type of body weight exercise.

  • If you have a difficult time holding your ankles, you can use a strap. You can wrap the strap around the front of your ankles before coming into the pose. Or you can have a spotter do it for you and they can hand you the strap after you are getting into position.

Half Bow Pose Modification:

If you are able to grab one ankle but not both at the same time, try doing the half bow pose.  

  • Lie on your stomach with both of your arms extended forward instead having them at your sides. Bend your left knee and bring that heel up toward your buttocks as you reach back with your left hand to grab the left ankle.

  • Lift your head and left shoulder back as you raise your left leg higher, extend your right arm and leg as you press them into the floor for stability.

  • Hold the half bow pose for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Bow Pose Benefits

  • Helps to relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Will energize and stimulate the mind and the body.
  • Improves circulation and digestion.
  • By opening the front of your body, the bow pose will allow your lungs to expand and increase their capacity for holding oxygen which will increase your stamina.

Other pages that might interest you:

I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.

» » Bow Pose

Join the Health and Fitness 
Conversation on Our Fitness House Facebook 


Ask Kim Mulligan Your Fitness Questions

Daily Tips for Staying Healthy and Fit

Printable Workouts and Diet/Food Lists and Charts

Recent Articles

  1. A Printable Workout Log Can Help Track Your Fitness Progress

    Feb 19, 20 12:25 PM

    See how a printable workout log can be one of your most valuable resources to successfully reach and maintain your fitness goals.

    Read More

  2. Tricep Extension Exercises for Beach Ready Arms

    Feb 09, 20 11:11 AM

    The tricep extension is one of the best exercises available to help you develop great looking arms.

    Read More

  3. Standing Dumbbell Fly for a Great Set of Shoulders

    Feb 04, 20 12:52 PM

    See how the dumbbell fly can make you stronger, more flexible, and improve your posture. Follow our illustrated instructions to achieve maximum results.

    Read More