Standing Bow Pose for Beginners and Men | A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Standing Bow Pose for Beginners and Men | A Step-by-Step Tutorial

This is a great balancing exercise to increase hip mobility, stretch your chest and shoulders, and strengthen the spine. The combination of stretching and strengthening the core is great for endurance athletes. It’s also beneficial for anyone who sits often to strengthen the muscles that get weak.

Standing Bow Pose Target Areas

  • hips
  • spine
  • shoulders

Standing Bow Pose Benefits

  • Increases hip mobility
  • Strengthens spine
  • Improves balance
  • Increases lower-body endurance and strength

click images to enlarge

How to Do Standing Bow Pose

  1. Stand in Mountain pose with big toes touching and heels about 1in (2.5cm) apart. Face your palms forward to open the chest. Lift your left foot, bend the leg behind you, and squeeze leg to pull heel toward glutes.
  2. Reach back with your left hand and grasp the inside of your left foot. Extend your right arm straight up. Press into the floor with your right foot. Inhale as you lengthen your body and reach fingertips higher.
  3. Exhale as you press your left foot firmly into your left hand, using this force to stretch the left hip flexors. Hinge at the hips to bring torso forward and down as you press lifted leg back and up. Keep right arm extended. Engage core, and reach tailbone back to lengthen the lower back. Hold the posture, inhaling as you lengthen the torso, and exhaling as you press deeper. Repeat on the other side.

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Cues for Standing Bow Pose

  • Keep torso upright and core firm
  • Externally rotate left arm, biceps facing out
  • Engage core and hips
  • Keep hips squared forward, directly over foot
  • Keep right leg straight
  • Actively press left foot into hand


  • Stretch in hip flexors and quadriceps of lifted leg, lower hamstrings, and both shoulders
  • Engagement of planted leg, quadriceps of lifted leg, core, and back


  • Lower-back pain; if you do, keep core tight and press hips forward
  • Hips opening to side; if so, level hips forward

Standing Bow Pose Pro Tip

To build active hip mobility, focus on engaging the hip flexors in your lifted leg. This builds active flexibility, which leads to more functional strength and decreased risk of injury.

    About Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.

    Dean Pohlman is an E-RYT 200 certified yoga instructor and the founder of Man Flow Yoga. Dean is widely considered to be an authority on Yoga for Men. He has worked with physical therapists to create yoga programs for back health and spinal recovery. His workouts and programs have been used by professional and collegiate athletes, athletic trainers, and personal trainers; and have been recommended by physical therapists, doctors, chiropractors, and other medical professionals.

    Dean is a successfully published author through DK Publishing (Yoga Fitness for Men), selling 35,000 copies worldwide in English, French, and German; in addition to being a co-producer of the Body by Yoga DVD Series, which has sold over 40,000 copies on Amazon since its release in 2016.

    Man Flow Yoga has been featured in Muscle & Fitness Magazine, Mens’ Health, The Chicago Sun, New York Magazine, and many more major news media outlets.

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