Strength and flexibility – if there is one way to boost both these abilities, it has to be yoga. Almost every yoga pose can help you achieve these fitness goals. The only thing that varies is the magnitude of the benefits. 

For instance, if you wish to have higher flexibility and strength, you should perform advanced-level yoga poses. One such poses is Akarna Dhanurasana. This intense stretch involves pulling your legs towards the ear just like an archer. But since it is a difficult pose, it should not be included in yoga for beginners. Those who already have a significant flexible body should perform this pose. 

If you have been planning to do Akarna Dhanurasana but have no idea where to begin, this is the right place. Below is a simple guide wherein you can learn the meaning of Akarna Dhanurasana along with its steps and benefits. Let’s start. 

What is Akarna Dhanurasana?

Akarna Dhanurasana Meaning and Interpretation

The word Akarna Dhanurasana is derived from the Sanskrit language where “Karna” means “Ear”, “Dhanura” means “Bow”, and “Asana” is “Pose”. The term “Karna” has “A” as a prefix which means “Near” or “Towards.

In English, the pose is known as Archer pose since the pose resembles the action of an archer drawing an arrow from the bow. To attain this posture, you have to draw one of your feet closer to the ear while the other leg stays extended on the ground. You can also call it Shooting Bow Pose, or Bow-And-Arrow Pose.

As for what the pose signifies, people refer to Mundaka Upanishad (2.2.4). In the text, Akarna Dhanurasana can be referred to as a metaphor for spiritual practice. You can also enchant “Om” while drawing the bow (your leg) with the target being the Supreme power, God. Pulling the string refers to the withdrawing of senses from the surroundings to reach a meditative state. With regular practice, your focus becomes pointed like an arrow and the concentrated state helps in finding spiritual balance. 

Preparatory Poses

Since Akarna Dhanurasana is an intense yoga, you need to prepare your body in advance. Here are some preparatory poses you must perform before you start the Archer pose yoga. 

  • Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)
  • Garland Pose (Malasana)
  • Half Boat Pose (Ardha Navasana)
  • Bound Angle Pose (Baddha konasana)
  • Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana)

How to do Akarna Dhanurasana?

To perform Akarna Dhanurasana, you need a yoga mat and a space with no disturbance. You can also choose early morning to do this yoga since you will be empty stomach and the environment is fresh and peaceful. 

Once you are comfortable, follow the below-listed steps to do Akarna Dhanurasana effectively: 

  1. Start the pose by sitting in Dandasana or the Staff pose with your back straight and legs spread forward. 
  2. Now, bend forward and hold the big toes of both left with your hands. To do so, wrap the thumb, index, and middle fingers around them. 
  3. Breathe out and lift the left foot. Keep the elbow and knee straight. 
  4. Inhale deeply and as you exhale, pull the feet towards your body until the heels reach your left ear. 
  5. Simultaneously, draw your left arm back from the shoulder. 
  6. Do not lose the grip on the right toe. This is the Akarna Dhanurasana. 
  7. Hold it for at least 15-20 seconds while breathing normally. 
  8. Breathe out and then try to pull your left leg further to extend it vertically. 
  9. Then again inhale and exhale as you draw the leg back to the left ear. 
  10. Hold this position again. 
  11. To release the pose, slowly bring the left leg to the floor extending both the legs forward.
  12. Repeat the pose with the left leg. 
  13. Once done on both sides, release the hands and legs to relax.

What Are the Variations of Akarna Dhanurasana?

Other than the basic Akarna Dhanurasana, you can also try other modifications or variations.

To modify the Akarna Dhanurasana pose, you can try the following: 

  1. Use a chair to rest the feet on it as you pull it towards your ear
  2. Use a yoga strap to grab the foot
  3. Try performing the yoga beside a pillar to rest the heel on the pillar

As for the variations, you can try the following poses: 

  1. Akarna Dhanurasana standing
  2. Baddha Akarna Dhanurasana
  3. Akarna Dhanurasana II

To know the details of these variations and modifications, consult a yoga expert. They can help you in understand the right techniques along with the best way to avoid any injury. 

What Are the Benefits of Akarna Dhanurasana?

There is a wide range of benefits that you can reap from the regular practice of Akarna Dhanurasana. These include: 

  1. It strengthens your leg muscles by improving blood flow. 
  2. You can also tone your abdominal muscles and reduce belly fat
  3. Akarna Dhanurasana also stimulates your abdominal organs to improve digestion
  4. You can also notice an improvement in your spine and hip flexibility. 
  5. By stretching the chest muscles, Akarna Dhanurasana also enhances the heart’s efficiency. This, in turn, increases the blood flow to the knees, hips, abdomen, and back. 
  6. This yoga also improves the efficiency of the liver and kidney by massaging the abdomen. 
  7. It also boosts immunity by eliminating the toxins from the body. 
  8. When you perform Archer pose, Kundalini energy also gets stimulated. 
  9. You can also improve your concentration and focus power with regular practice of Archer pose. 


Not everyone should perform Akarna Dhanurasana. Here are some situations when doing Archer pose is not recommended: 

  • Women who are pregnant and are menstruating must avoid this pose.
  • You should not perform it if you have any shoulder or hamstrings injury. 
  • Those with lower back issues or a herniated disk must avoid this asana. 
  • You should also avoid Akarna Dhanurasana if you are recovering from a recent surgery in your shoulder, arms, spine, and hips. 


Akarna Dhanurasana can become an easy pose if you do it regularly and have patience. In case you are a beginner and have experience in yoga, it is suggested to learn the pose from an expert. If going to a gym is not possible, you can also take online yoga classes. Just find the right one that is under your budget and is convenient for you. Once you have mastered the pose, you can also do it for your home workouts.

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June 16, 2022

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