Reverse Plank Pose: Purvottanasana
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.
- Purva: east
- Ut: intense
- Tan: stretch
- Asana: pose
- 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.
- Releases tension from the body.
- Relieves fatigue and stress.
- One-legged reverse plank | Eka pada purvottanasana
- Upward-facing bow pose | Urdhva dhanurasana
- Half lord of the fishes | Ardha matsyendrasana
- Seated forward fold | Paschimottanasana
- Childs pose | Balasana
- 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.
- Begin seated with your legs out in front of you.
- Reach through the ball mounds of your feet, halfway between pointed and flexed.
- Place your hands behind you, fingertips pointing toward your hips. Roll your shoulders behind you.
- 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.
- Lift your heart. Option to lift your gaze to the ceiling.
- Hold for five breaths, then release hips to the ground.
Paschimottanasana: Seated Forward Bend Pose
Paschimottanasana (POSH-ee-moh-tan-AHS-ah-nah) invites space to the hamstrings and lower back as well as the mind. While there’s no need to touch your toes in this pose, practicing regularly can help lengthen the muscles in the legs and back to encourage flexibility and ease.
Philosophy + Origin
Paschimottanasana is one of the earliest-known yoga postures, dating back to the Yoga Pradipika. This pose is commonly known as seated forward bend or seated forward fold, but is also referred to as the stretch of the West, referring to the back side of the body.