Bow Pose - Flipping your Grip

Warning: This little guide is really only for people who are comfortable in Bow and want to know how to 'flip your grip' into Full Bow. To work on your overall flexibility please check out my Get Bendy guide for a bunch of stretches. The stretches in Get Bendy will help you in flipping your grip. Having your elbows facing forward for Full Bow Pose requires a lot more flexibility through your arms, shoulders, hip flexors, quads, and ankles. So you will need to be working on a bit of everything before attempting this one.

If you try to jump into this pose without having worked on your flexibility you will put too much pressure on your lower back and most likely injure yourself. Trust me, I did it when I was an impatient beginner and it hurts like crazy. See how kind I am, making mistakes for you so you don't have to follow in my footsteps. :p

When people see a Full Bow Pose I think their first thought is that the flexibility is in the back/spine (this is what I first thought). But instead of the flexibility being 'inside' the circle or bow shape it is actually all around the outside so ankles, quads, hip flexors, chest, arms, shoulders. Again, all the stretches in Get Bendy will help you with this.

Bow Pose

If you want a detailed explanation on how to do Bow Pose you can read more on Yoga Journal.

 

Flipping your grip into Full Bow - single arm

 

Flipping your grip into Full Bow - both arms

Grab each foot one at a time (following instructions above). Once connected, lift up and breathe. Come out of the pose slowly.

Using a strap (I'm not a huge fan…)

When I was teaching myself Full Bow I actually didn't use a strap at all (I didn't even own a strap at the time). I simply focused on increasing my flexibility until I was ready to grab my feet with my elbows facing forward.

You NEED flexibility in your triceps, shoulders, lats, quads, and ankles for this pose (all over flexibility really). 

Here is a progress shot where my lack of flexibility is obvious. I'm showing you with this forearm backbend pose rather than Bow because going from Bow to Full Bow is quite different.

 

Tight shoulders, lats, hip flexors and quads... 

Open shoulders, more flexibility through hip flexors and quads 

If you wish to use a strap, please keep this in mind - if you are similar to the pictures on the left you won't have the flexibility for full bow just yet. Using the strap isn't a great way of improving this flexibility either because I find it puts a lot of pressure on your lower back. All of the stretches in Get Bendy will help you with your flexibility for this pose. 

If the line from your elbow to hip is straight, you need to stretch more!

 

If the line from your elbows to hip is more of a 'C' shape (like here) then using a strap at this stage may be helpful to start closing that gap. 

Again, another example.. If you are here you need to focus on stretching a lot more!

If you are here, then you may benefit from using the strap to start closing the gap.

 

I hope this post was helpful. Send an email to hello@ellefitactive.com if you would like more posts like this - tell me what you would like to see! 

Elle :)

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