Reverse Plank Pose: Purvottanasana

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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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Tadasana: Mountain Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

While the tadasana (tah-DAHS-anna), or mountain pose, appears to be one of the most basic yoga poses, it is far more profound than it seems. Learning how to truly stand in mountain pose, with awareness from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet, brings benefits in practicing nearly every other yoga pose — especially standing poses. Understanding the ins and outs of tadasana gives the knowledge needed to move confidently and safely into your practice for years to come. Regularly practicing mountain pose is also great for improving posture.

Philosophy + Origin

Mountain pose can look like a “non-pose” to some, but there is much to discover. In an age where we move quickly from one thing to the next, learning how to be strong, steady, and unwavering like a mountain is beneficial for our mental, physical, and spiritual health. As you stand in mountain pose, notice the subtleties of the posture. What can be discovered by being still? The more you practice tadasana, the more you’ll experience its meditative qualities, each breath inviting another step up the proverbial mountain until you quietly take in the incredible vista from the top.

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