Purvottanasana: Reverse Plank Pose

Purvottanasana: Reverse Plank Pose

Purvottanasana (PUR-voh-tah-NAH-sah-nah) is a sibling of bridge pose and plank pose. Reverse plank may look intimidating for the shoulders, but there are several variations of the pose, all of which can help open the front of the body while strengthening the back.

Philosophy and Origin:

This pose goes by many names including “reverse plank,” and “upward-facing plank” pose. The Sanskrit name translates to “intense east stretch.” Ancient yogis considered the front of the body to be the “east” side as yoga was practiced while facing the rising sun.

Sanskrit:

  • Purva: east
  • Ut: intense
  • Tan: stretch
  • Asana: pose

Physical Benefits:

  • Opens the chest and shoulders.
  • Builds and tones the core muscles.
  • Counters forward-facing tasks like sitting at a desk, driving, and looking at a phone.

Energetic Benefits:

  • Releases tension from the body.
  • Relieves fatigue and stress.

Preparatory Poses:

Sequential Poses:

Counter Poses:

Adjustments/Modifications:

  • Use a block: Build inner core strength by placing a block in between your thighs, then squeeze the block as you lift into the pose.
  • Half reverse plank: Place the soles of your feet on the ground with knees bent for a variation of full reverse plank.

Step-By-Step:

  1. Begin seated with your legs out in front of you.
  2. Reach through the ball mounds of your feet, halfway between pointed and flexed.
  3. Place your hands behind you, fingertips pointing toward your hips. Roll your shoulders behind you.
  4. Press into your palms and through the ball mounds of your feet. Exhale to lift your hips off the ground, tailbone pointing toward your heels.
  5. Lift your heart. Option to lift your gaze to the ceiling.
  6. Hold for five breaths, then release hips to the ground.

 

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Utkatasana: Chair Pose

Utkatasana: Chair Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

A challenging pose with hidden benefits, utkatasana (OOT-kah-TAHS-anna) works your body inside and out. Aside from strengthening your legs, this powerful pose also improves the health of your diaphragm and stimulates your heart. Practicing regularly will not only increase your physical endurance, it also encourages your chest and arms to open, creating more space in your body energetically.

Philosophy + Origin

While sitting in a chair is a common act for most of us today, chairs were once, and in some locations still are, considered a luxury. A throne in particular is a seat of power, one assumed by leaders around the world. The pose utkatasana, translated to mean powerful pose, invites individuals to sit on their throne, their seat of power. Embracing the challenge of the pose, and recognizing the strength that is generated when assumed thoughtfully and in proper alignment (physically and spiritually), you can begin to refine all aspects of your life, allowing yourself to step into roles of leadership and responsibility with clarity and confidence.

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