This posture probably more than any other, divides Bikram yogis. Some love it – “my favourite posture!” – while others find it a constant struggle simply to balance.
And there’s the word. Balance.The first thing I’d say about standing bow is to forget about the balance. The balance is the result of form, balance does not enable form.
So, here’s some magic tips about form to get the most out of this posture:
- The first thing you do in this posture is grab your foot at the ankle. If you are newer to Bikram this can be tricky, be patient and keep trying. As your shoulder flexibility improves and your hips open through the 26 postures, you’ll get there.
- Make sure you GRAB, don’t just hold the ankle. Grip on for dear life. Because when you work out the kick, you’ll need to hold on or you’ll lose the foot!
- Now bring your arm up in front of you, chin close to the shoulder to stretch the arm up. This energises your entire spine ready for the posture.
So now you are ready. One more thing – knees together for alignment and balance. And don’t forget always the locked knee is your foundation.
Bow is really very simple. You have to kick back and stretch forward. Mastering these two aspects will transform this posture. Everything else comes from your honest attention to these 2 actions.
But I hear you say, kicking is HARD. Yes it is! Probably 90% of people in the room are not kicking, they are holding their foot and hoping they don’t fall out. When you get the hang of the kick, everything else truly starts to fall into place.
Second Problem? Falling out. Don’t be scared to fall out trying. Again, the goal is not to balance, the goal is to kick so your foot comes over the top of your head and your body is parallel to the floor, stretching your fingers forward as much as possible . When you fall out, you learn. If you are scared to fall out, you’ll stay in the same position for EVER.
Check that your weight stays evenly over your standing foot. Bring your body down so that your abdomen and chest are parallel to the floor, to encourage the kick and raise the heart rate. Getting your body down also encourages the weight to be evenly distributed rather than back in the heel.
Don’t just point at yourself in the mirror, charge your body forward towards it like you want to touch that mirror. If you are charging enough and kicking enough, you won’t fall out. In fact, you could balance there forever! How?
You have to try very hard to concentrate on kicking and stretching. Nothing else. Look at your standing knee to keep it locked and forget about balance. Building concentration is just as hard as building balance, and probably much more valuable in life, but we very rarely hear somebody say, “I need to learn to concentrate more.” All balancing postures are about your concentration.
Think of this posture as a backbend/spine twist combo, that gives you a sense of what you are trying to achieve.
And always remember, as long as you are trying your best, you are getting your maximum benefit from the posture!
Some Benefits of Standing Bow Pulling
- A very comprehensive Posture improves the strength of all major muscles
- Stimulates the cardiovascular system
- Increases your spine flexibility
- Increases blood circulation to heart and lungs
- Stretches your hip flexors
- Opens shoulder joints
- Reduces abdominal fat
Now head in the hot room and give it a go!9