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Pose of the Week: Archer’s Pose

ARCHER’S POSE 1
(akarna dhanurasana 1)

SHAPE PREP
(from staff pose)
Lean forward, hold big toes with first two fingers, thumbs of each hand; straighten arms, legs.
Keeping legs, arms straight, lift right foot as high as optimal (more doable: hold foot with both hands—shin parallel to floor).

SHAPE POSE
Bend right knee, move knee out, place sole of foot against ear; point right elbow back.
Look straight ahead.

SAFETY PREP
Tone left thigh, tighten kneecap, firm hamstrings, press thigh/heel down.
Press big toes, fingers together. Flare toes.

SAFETY POSE
Move right leg back with leg (not just arm strength).
Minimize rounding in low back.

REFINEMENT POSE
Lift low back, chest. Stretch spine.

Repeat on the second side.

In the classical form of this pose the ankle takes the shape of a sickle. It’s not uncommon for practitioners to associate a sickled ankle with a collapsed ankle/knee. A sickled ankle can be both a versatile and strong ankle. Ideally the foot should be able to take a wide variety of shapes and be strong in all of those positions. If, however, sickling the ankle proves to be too much, flex the foot instead and point sole of foot straight ahead.

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