Dhanurasana & Poorna Dhanurasana - Instructions by Master Yoga Instructor , Jimmy Barkan

Jan, 03, 2014



  • Hold you feet from the outside, two inches below your toes.
  • Bring your knees together and feet shoulder width apart to start the pose.
  • Keep your shoulders and arms extended and wrists straight.
  • Look forward, inhale and kick your legs toward the back wall bringing your feet and knees shoulder width apart.
  • Come up as high as your lower abdomen and look up to the ceiling past your head completing the back bending through the neck (cervical) vertebra.
  • Don’t let the knees separate wider than the shoulders. Start out slowly, this posture is held longer than the other poses in the series, than gradually increase the intensity. There should be a straight line from your elbows to your knuckles, so keep your wrists straight.
  • Continue to kick back as far as you can. Remember, less in the beginning and more at the end. You are at maximum effort at the end of the pose.
  • Hold for twenty-five seconds, and repeat a second set

Full Bow

Poorna Dhanurasana:

  • Lying on stomach, bend knees and grab big toes with thumbs between big toe and second toe
  • Kick up as high as possible, pull one elbow through (forward), then the other. Hands to ears, elbows touch in front of head
  • Gently allow your head to tilt back, extending the neck
  • Alternate grip: Flex your foot back toward your hand, grasp top of foot (right foot first), from underneath and outside the foot
  • Kick up as high as possible, pull one elbow through (forward), then the other. Hands to ears, elbows touch in front of head
  • For those whose flexibility precludes pulling elbows through rags may be used to tie around each big toe. Hold onto rags, kick up, pull elbows through and forward.

Jimmy’s Tips


Work on keeping your knees and feet shoulder width, this maybe hard at first depending on the length of your legs. Your knees or feet may have a tendency to turn in or out. Symmetry is a very important concept in understanding alignment and in this case misalignment could stress the knees. Keep your weight on the lower abdomen. Many students tend to shift their weight forward onto their hips and other students lift up onto their hip points to try and kick the legs higher. Staying on the lower abdomen will more effectively work the areas of the body needed to maximize your results.


Look in the mirror and see your shoulders, elbows, wrists and knuckles are all shoulder width. The wrists have a tendency to protrude out to the side which actually inhibits the full extension of the legs. To correct, simply rotate your hands so the knuckles turn up toward the ceiling creating a straight line from your elbows to your knuckles. Keep your legs and feet shoulder width to access front of the hips (Hip Flexors). There is an inclination to avoid this stretch by allowing the legs to go outside shoulder width. Don’t let that happen!


Once you can fully extend your legs way past your head begin to internally rotate your elbows, (toward each other) and relax your head all the way back. This shoulder rotation will permit your middle spine to bend allowing you to go much deeper in the pose.

Ultra Advanced

The Full Bow or Poorna Dhanurasana is not the full expression of the Bow pose. It is an entirely different posture. However, unless you have an extremely flexible spine the Full Bow also requires significant shoulder flexibility, specifically the anterior or inner deltoids. It will be very difficult to attempt this advanced pose without guidance, so I suggest you find one of our certified Level II instructors for help.


Categories: Traditional Hot Yoga
Tags: Jimmy Barkan, Barkan Method Hot Yoga, Traditional Hot Yoga Bow Pose , Dhanurasana, Poorna Dhanurasana

Yoga Buzz

Ghosh Lineage

... Read More



The quality of my life with the addition of Yin Yoga has improved significantly. I am 69 years old and began a regular practice of 2-3 Yin sessions weekly 3 years ago which enables me to engage in a couple of high exertion activities. One is basketball with men 30 or more years younger who know the game and play well. The games are intense and physical! The other activity is back-packing 3-4 nights in National Parks or the Appalachian Trial. It's the slow intentional stretching Yin Yoga provides which allows me on a basketball court and on the hiking trails. The instructors are adept in working with men as well as women. I like the way the instructors explain the benefit of each position, the content is practical and applicable. Most days with Yin I struggle some, if not a lot. The result is an immediate feeling of relief, I am far less tight and rigid. The pay off for the discomfort during class is fast! Yin and Yoga Oasis are part of a rule of life I follow. Living is much better for it.
-Yoga Rev
View All