Upward Plank Pose  -Purvottanasana

Step by step

  • Sit with your legs outstretched in front of you in Dandasana.
  • Place your hands a little behind your hips with the fingers pointing towards the toes, point your toes.
  • Roll your inner thighs in, draw your belly in and up, and as you inhale, lift your hips up as high as you can, keeping your chin to your chest. 
  • Firm your shoulder blades on your back to help lift your chest up. 
  • When your chest is lifted you may choose to bring your head back.
  • Keep your chin tucked when you bring your head back, to the point where you can't keep it tucked anymore. Then gently release your head.
  • Alternatively, if this feels too much for your neck, keep your head up and your chin towards your chest.
  • Stay here for about 5 breaths, then as you exhale, lower your hips back down into Dandasana.

 

 

Beginners tips

  • If you find this too challenging, bend your knees and lift up into a reverse tabletop.
  • Find a hand position that suits your shoulders: fingers point forward or away from you
  • Engage your gluteus muscles (buttocks) to support you in this pose.

Benefits

  • Stretches the front of the shoulders, the chest and the front of the ankles.
  • Strengthens the arms, core, legs and back.
  • Excellent counterpose for Chaturanga Dandasana.

Watch out for

  • Be mindful of your neck - if there are any injuries or existing weaknesses in your neck, keep your chin to your chest.
  • Keep your wrists directly under your shoulders in this pose.

Variations

  • Try moving dynamically between Purvottanasana and Dandasana a few times - creating a swinging action. Keep pressing through the hands so your hips remain off the floor in Dandasana. You can also place your hands on blocks for this variation.