Upward Bow: What Is It & How to Do It

upward bow pose
Upward Bow Pose, also known as the Wheel Pose or Backbend

Upward Bow Pose, or Urdhva Dhanurasana, is an advanced pose that builds strength and increases energy. Two Sanskrit words compose the meaning of urdhva Dhanurasana: urdhva, which means "upward," and dhanu, which means "bow."

About Upward Bow Pose

This powerful asana:

  • Strengthens the core of the body and clears the lungs
  • Invigorates the thyroid and brain function
  • Alleviates problems with depression, asthma, and back pain

If you have a back condition, carpel tunnel, or trouble with your blood pressure, do not perform Upward Bow Pose.

Step into the Pose

To Perform Upward Bow Pose

  1. Lie in Corpse Pose, then bend your knees, feet flat on the floor.
  2. Bring your heels back to meet your buttocks.
  3. Curve your arms behind your head, fingers aimed at the shoulders.
  4. Inhale, and then, on the exhale, stretch up, lifting the tailbone off the floor a few inches.
  5. Continue lifting the body gradually, a motion at a time, until legs and arms are fully extended.
  6. Head hanging between the shoulder, hold the pose for 5 seconds.
  7. Release a motion at a time, the same way you went up.

For more instructions on Upward Bow Pose, visit Yoga Journal.


It's best to first perform this pose under the direction of a yoga instructor. Build form by using a strap to keep thighs together and a block at the base of the feet to provide support.


Once upright, draw a single leg into the chest, hold, then extend that leg out and hold. Repeat with other leg.

Upward Bow: What Is It & How to Do It