By Allison Ray Jeraci
Photo by Andrea Killam
Urdhva dhanurasana, or upward bow pose (also known as wheel), is a deep backbend requiring lots of strength and mobility. It also asks your body to move in ways quite different from typical daily movement patterns: lying on the ground on your back, pushing into your hands and feet to lift your body off the floor and into a backbend—and then looking at the world from that inverted vantage point.
At times, it may seem like the odds are stacked against us when we’re learning and practicing this pose. Pushing up into urdhva dhanurasana is hard, and there is no alternative other than dropping back into it; but that entails a whole new degree of difficulty, and often a few more years of practice. One way I’ve found to make this pose more accessible is with a layering system of bolsters, blankets, and blocks.