Sinead shows you how to work on your
Urdhva Dhanurasana – Upward Bow
or ‘Crab Pose’
Upward Bow is probably one of the more widely known yoga poses. This is mainly because that it’s very similar to the gymnastic Crab Pose.
And Crab Pose is something that we all tried as kids in the school playground. We all had that one friend in primary school who was great at doing the crab, cartwheels and handstands, much to the envy of everybody else!
We’re all learning Crab Pose together
Crab Pose builds on last week’s Setu Bandahasana (Bridge Pose). Crab Pose is certainly one of the more challenging yoga poses and as such, it’s a great one to work toward in your practice by building up to it and being patient with yourself.
Sinead takes us through a how-to and all the do’s and do-not-do’s of Crab Pose. It’s a fun pose to try, so take your time and enjoy yourself!
Sinead’s step by step guide for Urdhva Dhanurasana
Step one: Warm-up
This pose is a very big back bend and should only be practiced once the body has warmed up and can open like this. If the body hasn’t warmed up properly it can cause back, shoulder or neck pain, so it’s worth making the effort!
To warm up the body, as a minimum you’d want to:
- Open up and stabilise in the hip flexors (Warrior 1 and lunges)
- Stabilise and stretch the abdominal muscles (Navanasa and Setu Bandhasana)
- Stabilise and open the shoulder joint area (Dolphin pose, side plank variations and Gomukhasana).
- Poses that help you to open along the front line of your body and into the hip and shoulder joints will help, as well as abdominal work.
Step two: Preparing yourself
To pull the pose, lie supine on the floor and bring your heels in towards your sit bones. Place your hands on the mat next to your head with the fingers pointing down the body. Press the feet into the mat firmly and draw the tailbone towards the backs of the knees. This will lift the hips as in bridge pose, hold it here for a round of breath.
Step three: Lifting yourself up
When you feel ready, press the hands firmly into the floor and firm the shoulder blades against the back to help lift the upper body off the floor. This part requires a lot of strength for the push but also a lot of openness in the shoulder joint to help facilitate the upwards movement. So be careful here, you want to make sure you don’t push too hard.
Step four: Holding yourself
Once up in the pose, press your feet into the floor, keep you inner thighs rolling downwards, make sure the lower abdomen is engaged to help support the lower back and either let the head hang backwards or lift it slightly to look down at the floor.
Final point is that the knees and feet tend to turn outwards in the pose, which compresses the lower back and can cause pain or discomfort. To begin with you can keep a brick squeezed in between your knees or use a belt around your thighs at hip width.
Step five: Coming out of Crab Pose
Easing yourself out of Crab Pose is important. To exit the pose, firm your shoulders down your back and start to bend your elbows. Allow your head to rest on the floor and carefully roll down your spine to the mat.
It’s nice to your give your back a bit of love after all that work. So hug knees to your chest, keep the back of your neck nice and long and relaxed. You can follow this up with a Supine twist.
Contraindications – things to watch out for
Hold off from practicing this pose if you suffer from any back or shoulder pain / injuries, it could aggravate the issue further.
Also if you’re suffering from headache or diarrhoea, this may not be the pose for you that day.
Benefits of Crab Pose
Brings strength to arms, wrists, shoulders, abdomen, spine and legs.
Can increase energy if feeling lethargic.
Stretches the chest and the lungs.
It has been said to stimulate the thyroid and the pituitary gland.
Practice your Crab Pose in class and at home
All of our classes this week will feature the Crab Pose to give you a chance to attempt your pose with added coaching from our Yogafurie teachers. Feel free to grab a teacher after class if you’d like a bit more of a demonstration of the Crab Pose.
In classes, we tend to move from pose to pose with a degree of pace. If you’d like to work on your Crab Pose specifically, you can always attempt the pose at home at your own pace.