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If someone asked you which postures you thought were “fun” in the 26/2 series, chances are slim that you’d mention Wind Removing Pose. Or the third part of Awkward. Those postures have their fans, and they are powerfully therapeutic, but “fun” is not the first word that comes to my mind.

But how about Standing Bow Pulling Pose? Yes! Challenging…and motivating… and fun. It’s a posture that combines strength, balance, flexibility, and a bit of drama. It looks cool. It can feel exhilarating.

Standing Bow Pulling Pose is the posture of the month, and this is a great time to “play” with your posture as we focus on the individual elements in class.

Have fun!

Nice set-up, Neil!

Tips from the podium:

Set up your Standing Bow Pulling Pose with accuracy.

  • Make sure you are holding on at your ankle rather than your foot or shin.
  • When you raise your arm, it should be back with your ear. It might take time for your shoulder to open enough to get your arm all the way back, but keep working at it.
  • Knees together to get your lifted foot in line with your hip.
  • Two hips level with the floor and level with the front mirror.

Build, sustain and deepen your Standing Bow Pulling Pose with 5 simple instructions.

  • Maintain one point of focus in the mirror.

    Strong Standing Bow Pulling Pose, Neil!

  • Create a solid base with a strong standing leg. Tighten your quadriceps. Keep your leg locked.
  • Kick your leg back and up behind you. Your back shoulder is invisible. Your back knee is invisible. Eventually, you will see your foot come up over the top of your head.
  • Stretch your extended arm forward toward the front mirror. Your shoulder comes forward, underneath your chin.
  • Bring your abdomen down so far that it is parallel to the floor.
  • Repeat!

Details, details!

  • Look forward. Your face should be parallel with the front mirror, two ears even with the floor, even as your body comes down. Remember, this is a twisting backward bend.
  • Begin with your raised leg knee pointing toward the floor, and don’t let it point out to the side as you come down. This alignment is very important. Better to keep your knee well aligned behind your hip and come down less far than to open the hip and get more height.
  • Relax your shoulder and let your kick (back and up) pull it open.
  • Kick harder if you feel that you’re losing your balance.
  • Commit to a single point of focus, and see everything else in your periphery.


  • Strengthens quadriceps, triceps, trapezius, gluteal, and erector spinae muscles.
  • Stretches hamstrings, abdominal wall, intercostal, and biceps muscles.
  • Compresses lumbar spine.
  • Twists thoracic spine.
  • Increases circulation throughout the body.
  • Improves elasticity of the spine.
  • Improves coordination between strength and balance.
  • Firms abdominal wall and improves digestive system.
  • Develops concentration, patience, and determination.

–Ellen Olson-Brown, The Hot Yoga Factory

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