Akarna Dhanurasana Shooting Bow or Archer's Pose Breakdown

By: Steph Ball-Mitchell, ERYT-500, RPYT, RCYT, YACEP

Akarna Dhanurasana Shooting Bow or Archer's Pose Breakdown

Shooting Bow or Archer's Pose

Shooting Bow or Archer's Pose 

Sanskrit Name: Akarna Dhanurasana

English: Shooting Bow, Archer's Pose

Akarna Dhanurasana / Shooting Bow or Archers Pose Benefits:

  • Increases hip mobilitys
  • Strengthens arms and shoulders
  • Stretches arms and legs
  • Improves core strength

Shooting Bow/Archers Pose Contraindications:

  • Pregnancy
  • Menstruation
  • Shoulder injury
  • Lumbar disc problems
  • Hamstring injury

How To Do Shooting Bow/Archers Pose

  • First sit comfortably on the floor with straight legs in front of you. During this keep your head, back and shoulders are straight.
  • Breathe deeply and put your palms on your thighs.
  • Now, breathe out along with gently slide your right hand towards your right foot. With your right hand grab the big toe of your right foot and pull it towards your face. During this, by your left hand try to reach the big toe of your left foot and grab it and hold it there.
  • Breathe in deeply and pull back your right foot from your face to the right ear.
  • Remain in this Pose about 30 to 60 seconds.
  • After that, breathe out and slowly down your right leg and release your hands from the foot and get back to initial position.
  • Repeat the same steps with your other leg.

Modifications and Accessibility Options for Archers Pose/ Shooting Bow

  • Use a strap around the foot of the extended leg (helpful for tight hams, tight hips)
  • You may choose to practice without toe locks
  • In this posture, it's really important to practice (and teach) in progressions. You can always modify with a strap, but the accessibility in this posture is giving yourself the freedom to stop at your own personal boundary along the way. Some people stop in Janu Sirsasana and work from there. Others may come into Marichyasana legs and not take it any further, simply working on hip opening.

For more information on accessible yoga, please join us in our 200 hour yoga teacher training program online

About the Author

Founder of Online Yoga School and Yoga & Ayurveda Center

Steph Ball-Mitchell, E-RYT-500, RPYT, RCYT, YACEP, CAADC

Steph has over 25 years of experience in yoga and movement.  Her understanding of yoga and the human body has been influenced by lifelong dancing and holistic health.  She found her life’s purpose in helping people become happier and healthier through her own healing journey.  Steph assists her students in knowing the joy and wonderment of integrating the mind and body through accessible yoga.  She encourages an authentic and life-nurturing practice, one that brings greater consciousness to each moment and every movement of the body with a heavy emphasis on breath.  

With a masters degree in counseling, Steph brings awareness, acceptance and a down to earth approach to her classes.  She studied with Maty Ezraty and later completed her second 200-hour training with Nancy Candea at Yoga Impact in New Jersey and her 300-hour training with Chris Loebsack at Boundless Yoga Studio in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.   The perpetual student, Steph has studied with Leslie Howard, Travis Eliot, Bryan Kest, Donna Farhi and countless others.  She has extensive training in pelvic floor yoga, restorative yoga, yin yoga, power yoga and accessible yoga.  Most recently, Steph was certified as a Grand Master of Meditation through Swami Vidyanand.

Steph founded Yoga and Ayurveda Center with her husband.  She later launched Online Yoga School to support her local trainings and has recently launched a virtual yoga studio to accommodate the international community of trainees.

When she isn’t on her mat, Steph can be found volunteering, enjoying her husband and children, dancing and cooking.  She currently enjoys serving on the board of World Yoga Federation and Meditation Alliance International and previously enjoyed serving on the Education Committee of Yoga Alliance and places a strong emphasis on inclusivity in her teacher trainings.