This simple and effective asana for your practice is sometimes called in IndiaKatikasana or the “Pelvic Asana”. The Sanskrit etymology of the term Purvottanasana reveals its relationship with Paschimotanasana, another famous and effective asana.
In fact, the Sanskrit term Purvottanasana comes from the juxtaposition of three Sanskrit words: purva=sunrise; uttana=maximum stretch; and asana=corporal position.
We also need to say that paschimo=sunset + uttana=maximum stretch + asana=corporal position give us Paschimotanasana – The Asana of the Clench.
Consequently, in the Sanskrit translation we find that the mysterious connection between the two is obvious, yet their translation tells us nothing further about this relationship.
Purvottanasana is commonly referred to as Upward Plank Pose. But, this isn’t the literal translation of the asana’s name. Iyengar says, “Purva literally means the East. It means the front of the whole body from the forehead to the toes. Uttana means an intense stretch. In this posture, the whole front of the body is stretched intensely.” So, Purvottanasana could be loosely translated as Intense Stretch to the East Pose.
Practice of the Purvottanasana Pose
- Sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose).
- Bend the knees and place the feet flat on the floor.
- Swing the hips towards the heels and roll the shoulders back and down.
- Exhale and swing the hips up towards the ceiling.
- Bring the head back last thing of all, and only if you can do it without crunching the neck.
- If you feel unstable in the pose, walk the feet a little bit away from you.
- Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Exhale and return to Dandasana.
- Soften and widen the buttocks and the backs of the thighs.
- Strengthen the inner thighs and widen the abdomen.
- Lengthen the tailbone towards the knees.
- Narrow and lift the sides of the waist.
- Widen and lift the back ribs.
- Widen the collarbones and shoulder blades.
- Reach the arms down.
- Roll the armpits up and over the collarbones towards the head.
- Soften and widen the back of the neck.
Benefits Purvottanasana Pose
- Strengthens the arms, wrists and legs
- Stretches the shoulders, chest, and front ankles
- Helpful in preventing Fatigue
- Beware of Wrist injury
- With a neck injury, support the head on a wall or chair seat