Finding Joy in Movement

Purvottanasana/ Upward Plank

Purvottanasana is a great pose that opens the front of the chest and shoulders, works the hamstrings and back, and provides a great counter to Chaturanga by strengthening the opposing muscles and providing balance in the shoulders. (you can read more about the importance of balancing strength work in the shoulders here).

Sit on the floor in Dandasana with the legs stretched out in front. Point the toes and place the hands about 6 inches behind the sitbones with the fingers pointing forward. As you inhale, widen the front of the shoulders, lift the heart, and draw the shoulder blades lightly down the back. Press the hands and the heels into the floor and lift the hips. Both the glutes and the hamstrings will engage as you lift, but try and use primarily the hamstrings. If the hamstrings are not sufficiently developed, the glutes will take more of the work and can place strain on the lower back, so be careful to release the glutes once you are up and keep the thighs internally rotated. Tabletop (with the knees bent) can be an excellent preparation pose to develop the strength in the legs for purvottanasana.

Once you have the hips lifted, try and press evenly across the entire width of the palm and continue to lift the heart, opening across the front of the chest and shoulders. Try to press the toes to the floor. If it feels safe for your neck, you can finally release the head back, lengthening the front of the throat. The arms should be perpendicular to the floor. To come out, let the head come forward again, bend the elbows, and gently lower the hips to the floor.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!

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