Purvottanasana - The Upward Plank




पूर्व pūrva [pūrvā]. Ahead, in front, first, initial; ancient, antique, traditional — the direction of the East.
उत्तान uttāna [vr uttan]. Unfolded, open; lying down on the back; concave | [tense] ready to, inclined to.
उत्तन् uttan [ut-tan] to stretch upwards, to stretch.
purvottana - the front of the body

Synonyms: East position, inclined plane, front-stretching posture, reverse plank


The starting position consists on sitting on the ground, with the legs slightly bent in front of the body. The hands rest on the ground behind the back, with the hands turned towards the front. The eyelids are open and the eyes fix a point in front of the face. Khechari Mudra is activated. Several breathings are used to focus the attention and mobilize the energies.

During an exhalation, raise the pelvis and tilt the head backward while keeping the eyes looking at a point behind the horizontal line. Activate firmly Mula Bandha. Seek to raise the pelvis even more, while keeping the legs straight and the sole of the feet completely on the ground.

Note: while keeping the sole of the feet on the ground enhances the intensity of the position, it may lead to cramps in the calves in the beginning.

In this way, the body is completely elevated with an attempt to raise it even more. The posture is held as long as the possibilities of the practitioner allows.

Breathing: Visamavritti [3/12/6/0]. In the beginning, [3/6/6//0] may be needed. With time, [4/16/8/0] and more should be adopted.

During an exhalation, bring the pelvis down to the starting position. After resting, new cycles can be done, totaling 2 times 1 minute or 3 times 1 minutes, and so forth.

Advanced version

Same focus and same positioning as previous one. Here, the abdominal bhastrika is practiced, with the head tilted forward, and still with the eyelids open. Bhastrika is practiced for 1 minute. Then, during a full and complete inhalation, tilt the head backward to come back to the previous position. Stay in full retention as long as possible. Intensify the root lock. Experience the energy condensing in the spine while trying to balance the sensation from right to left. During the exhalation, tilt the head forward and start one more cycle with bhastrika. Similarly, inhale afterward while tilting the head backward and stay in full lung retention as long as possible. Jiva bandha can be activated here.

During the next exhalation, come back to the original position and stabilize the breathing. Then, enter the integration posture.

With time, increase the series of breathing with head forward and of full retention with head backward.