Urdhva Dhanurasana - Upward Facing Bow Pose.
Urdhva = upwards.
Dhanura = bow.
Asana = steady pose or posture.
This posture is also known as chakrasana (the wheel pose), it is a strong posture, it provides a deep back bend and is not be suitable for everyone. Urdhva dhanurasana strengthens the legs and shoulders, opens the chest, stretches the abdomen and increases overall flexibility of the spine.
How to Perform Urdhva Dhanurasana
Start by practicing setu bandasana (half bridge), lie on your back with your arms alongside your body, bend your knees so that the soles of your feet are flat on the floor. Push the feet into the ground and slowly lift the hips from the floor until there is a diagonal line between the knees and the shoulders. After five complete breaths lower the hips to the floor and draw the knees in towards your chest.
To perform urdhva dhanurasana place your hands to the floor beside your ears with your fingertips pointing towards your shoulders. Push into your hands and feet to lift the body from the ground. Work to straighten the legs and direct the shoulders over the hands. Care must be taken to make sure that the lower back remains long and is not compressed when performing this posture. Hold for five or more complete breaths.
On completion of this posture lie on your back and gently draw both knees in towards your chest for twenty or more complete breaths.