“Purvottanasana” translates as “Eastern intense stretch posture,” but is more commonly known as “reverse plank” or “incline plank.” The front of the body corresponds to the direction East, which we all know is the same direction the sun rises, and as the day begins, energy rises and activity increases. By performing this intense stretch to the active side of our bodies, we awaken and heighten our own energy. This pose helps strengthen the wrists, arms, shoulders, low back, glutes and legs, as well as open and stretch the chest and abdomen.
Moving into the pose
1. Start from a seated position by reaching your palms to the floor behind you with your fingers pointing toward your toes.
2. Straighten your legs and raise your hips toward the sky. Relax your neck muscles, and allow your head to feel heavy and extend back naturally.
Scan your body from head to toe
- Palms are flat on the ground with fingers pointed toward the feet
- Heels are on the ground with your toes reaching for the floor
- Shoulders, hips and feet should be in a straight line
- Keep your glutes relaxed and your thighs tone but not overly flexed.
- Breathe deeply and with control for 10 to 15 seconds, or four to seven quality breaths.
- To move out of the posture, lower your glutes to the ground.
Tip: If you are new to yoga, be sure to take it slow and not overexert yourself. Practice transitioning in and out of the postures with fluidity and control.
Anthony DiTomaso is an NCBTMB-certified massage therapist, Yoga Alliance-certified instructor, anatomy and physiology instructor, as well as professional fitness model. He is also an experienced instructor in personal training, nutrition education, energetic healing and Five Element and traditional Chinese medicine theory. DiTomaso has taught introductory massage courses and continuing education seminars for massage therapists and yogis throughout the U.S. He is the owner of Empowerment Unlimited Body Works Inc. and offers the DVD Yoga For Massage Therapists (www.yogaformassagetherapists.com).