Yoga Pose of the Week: Urdhva Dhanurasana

Genevieve Oswald in Urdhva Dhanurasana; by Zoe Zimmerman for Sundara Studios 2013

Genevieve Oswald in Urdhva Dhanurasana; by Zoe Zimmerman for Sundara Studios 2013

Like the expanding universe, the body is a canvas with unlimited potential to unfold into ever more exquisite beauty. Yoga is a practice that invites one to press up against the boundaries of comfort and explore what lies beyond the known. All backbends invite such an exploration, and as the backbends grow in size the layers peel away proportionately.

Urdhva Dhanurasana, full wheel pose, is just the kind of asana that puts the yogi on the threshold of something radically expansive and worthwhile to explore.

Begin by laying supine with both knees bent and your hands alongside your ears, with your palms facing down and fingertips pointing toward your shoulders. Inhale and hug into the midline with your legs and your arms, drawing into your innate ability to expand like the universe. Exhale to lift your hips off the mat, pressing strongly into your hands and feet.  Inhale to press up to the crown of your head. Hold fast to your strength, continuing to draw into your midline. Exhale and gently roll your forehead toward your nose, drawing your shoulders more deeply onto your back and sweetly opening your heart. Inhale into you heart and invite yourself to explore beyond the boundaries of your known self as you exhale and press up through your arms and out through your legs into the full form of Urdhva Dhanurasana.

Hold for as long as you like and exhale to lower your head, heart, and hips to the mat. Laying again supine on the mat, bring your feet wide and let your knees drop in to touch as you settle into the expanded version of your inner and outer universe.