Upward Plank Pose is also known as Eastern Facing Stretch, or in Sanskrit Purvauttanaassana. “Purva” means “east” or “front of the body”. “Uttana” refers to “intense stretch” and “Asana is “pose”
Upward Plank pose is great for utilising your core, preparing for backbends and strengthening your back, wrists, and leg muscles. It stimulates the entire front and back muscles of the body, and brings you a feeling of both inner and outer strength.
While traditional plank pose AKA Chaturanga has many benefits and requires focus, core and breath, Upward Plank Pose lifts your heart chakra. It is a heart-opening backbend and when performed safely, its benefits are vast.
How To Get There
- Sitting on your mat, legs extended out in front, big toes and heels touching.
- Ensure your spine is straight and your core is engaged, as though you were bringing your belly button towards your spine.
- Place your hands on the floor beside you, press them firmly down. Your fingertips can face either towards the front of your mat, or the back of your mat, this is entirely on how your wrists and hands feel most comfortable.
- Engage your core again – belly button to spine.
- Inhale deeply and as you do, raise your pelvis, hips and legs, keeping your feet on the ground and arms straight.
- Your entire body is balanced by hands and feet.
- Gently tilt your head back if it feels ok to do so, to create a gentle backbend.
- Remain in the posture for five rounds of breath. Breathe in deeply through the nose counting to four, and out through the nose counting to five.
To exit the pose
- Check in with your core, re-engage it if you need.
- Lift your head back up and look forward.
- On an exhaling breath, slowly bring your bottom to the floor.
- Cultivates awareness and mindfulness
- Expansion of lungs, helps with breathing.
- Tones and strengthens the hamstrings and triceps.
- Strengthen hands, feet, wrists, back and neck.
- Relieves stress and tension, calms the mind.
- Strengthens core.
- Opens heart chakra.
- Can improve posture.
- Excellent Arm Strengthening Pose.
Whatever your fitness level is, planks (of any form) are a good exercise to integrate into your daily routine. When you strengthen your core, you can help with your overall health and mobility.
- High blood pressure
- Any injury to spine or neck
- Wrist issues such as Carpel Tunnel
If it feels like you don’t have enough room for hands to reach the floor, place a yoga block under each hand before you prepare your body for the pose.
Table Top Position is a variation with feet on the floor and knees bent, hips high (so that your body resembles a table). This can also be a preparation pose for Upward Plank.