Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff
March 27, 2015
Upward Salute
March 27, 2015

Upward Plank Pose

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Purvottanasana
(PUR-voh-tun-AHS-anna)
purvo = east
uttana = intense stretch

BENEFITS

  • Strengthens the arms, wrists, and legs
  • Stretches the chest, shoulders, and front of the ankles
  • Provides a counterpose for Chaturanga
  • Builds core strength and balance

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Wrist injuries, such as a recent surgery
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Slipped discs and other spinal pathologies
  • Neck injuries

HOW TO

  1. Start in Dandasana (Staff pose) with your legs outstretched in front of you.
  2. Place your hands about six inches behind your hips, with fingertips pointing toward the toes, and press your palms firmly into the ground.
  3. Roll the thighs inward, and draw the abdominals in and up. On an inbreath, lift your pelvis as high as you can, keeping your chin tucked.
  4. Work toward straightening your legs and reaching your toes to the floor.
  5. Firm your shoulder blades against the back of your torso and lift your chest.
  6. If you have a regular practice, release your head back toward the floor. Be careful to not compress your neck.
  7. Stay here for five breaths. Return to Dandasana to release the pose.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

Alternatives:

Modifications:

  • If dropping your head back causes discomfort, keep it aligned with the spine.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Ground down through all four corners of your hands.
  • Reach through the heels, activating the leg muscles.
  • Keeping your chest open, roll the shoulders back and down your back.

VARIATIONS

  • Lower the hips down to the mat; then raise them up toward the ceiling.

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Hips dropping
  • External rotation of the legs