Urdhva Dhanurasana is an Asana, it’s a back bend and part of the finishing sequence in the Ashtanga Yoga. The name Urdhva Dhanurasana translates as backward bending wheel pose. It stretches the abdominus, thorax and lungs. My experience with Urdhva Dhanurasana for the first time was when I did it at Tirisula Yoga teacher training course. I remember Master Paalu broke down the poses starting with chest to the wall pushing abdominus forwards and down, I stretched a lot immediately, it was a very intense stretch. Next leg up the wall reverse of the first stretch, this was also very intense – it was a great at opening my back. I never thought I would be able to do the Urdhva Dhanurasana, but I did it but with back pain. When I completed about 60% of the Asana I forgot my pain through the elation of progressing. Then Master Paalu taught us it is not about really arching or bending your back, it is about engaging the opposite front muscles for example lengthening tight quadriceps and the abdominus muscle and at the same time pressing down the heel of the foot. At this point you rock the pelvis backwards over your legs. If you spend a lot of your day sitting, this can be difficult to accomplish.
My realisation if you want to do 100% Urdhva Dhanurasana you must stretch the hip flexors and the front muscles using other poses like the bridge pose and puppy dog stretch daily.
Ocna. (200 Hr TTC May 2017)