This is an excellent pose for stretching the entire front of the body, glutes and strengthening the abdominal. Seated on the ground, legs stretched out in front of you in Dandasana (Staff pose), spine lengthened, bring hands behind your buttocks, parallel to your shoulders, hands facing towards your feet, fingers spread wide apart and open, firmly pressing into the ground. Inhale, lift hips up, feet together, toes pointing downwards towards the ground. To come out of the pose on the exhale, tuck chin towards the chest, lower the hips to the ground, back to Dandasana and relax.
Table top: Placing feet on the ground, separate knees hip-width apart, hands behind, fingers facing towards the feet. Upward Plank Pose is an intermediate back-bending yoga pose that builds strength and flexibility.
Ancient yogis practiced facing eastward as the sun rose, so the front side of the body (facing the sun) was considered the “east” side.
Do not practice Purvottanasana if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, a shoulder injury, or wrist injury.
Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your arms resting at your sides in Seated Staff Pose (Dandasana).
Bring your hands several inches behind your hips and rotate your palms so your fingertips point in the same direction you are facing (toward your toes). On an inhalation, press your hands and feet down firmly and lift your hips up toward the ceiling.
Purvottanasana is an excellent arm-strengthener and front-body stretch when practiced correctly. If you cannot yet support your bodyweight with your legs straight, practice Reverse Table Pose (Ardha Purvottanasana). More advanced students can come into One-Legged Upward Plank Pose (Eka Pada Purvottanasana) by lifting one foot off the floor.
Practicing Purvottanasana can be invigorating and uplifting for your mind and body when practiced correctly. If your shoulders, arms, or wrists feel fatigued, you will lose the integrity of the pose and can get injured. Do not over-use the muscles of your back body (back torso, shoulder blades, hamstrings, glutes) to shove yourself into the pose.
Practicing Purvottanasana can be a great way to counteract forward bends, like Paschimottanasana, and strength-building poses, like Chaturanga. Upward Plank (Purvottanasana) is an intermediate yoga pose that strengthens and stretches the whole body. Upward Bow Pose can be a challenging pose to attain with correct alignment, so be careful that you aren't pushing your body beyond its current level of flexibility and strength.


Do not practice this pose if you are currently experiencing high or low blood pressure, headaches, diarrhea, or heart problems. Reach your arms up overhead, and then bend your elbows so that you can place your palms on the floor at either side of your head. Inhale as you press your feet firmly into the floor and lift your hips upward toward the ceiling. Realign your arms to make sure they remain parallel — do not let your elbows splay to the sides.
Upward Bow Pose will deeply stretch and strengthen the entire body, but it's important to learn how to do it correctly to avoid injury and strain. Advanced practitioners can perform a drop-back by coming into the pose from a standing position.
It is a therapeutic pose for fatigue and depression and helps promote optimism, energy and vitality. It is sometimes used as a counter-pose to forward folds, such as Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana), and full-body, strength-building poses, such as Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana). It strengthens the arms, upper back, legs, glutes, and wrists; and stretches the chest, abdomen, tops of the feet, and ankles.
It can take some time to gain enough strength to hold the pose for more than a breath or two, so be sure to take it slowly and never force the pose. If you feel any compression in your neck, tuck your chin slightly and do not let your head drop all the way back.
Utilize the muscles of your front body (chest, abdomen, quadriceps) with equal effort as those of your back body. It can also re-balance your body after a long day of working at a computer, driving, and other forward-facing actions that can cause slouching and rounded spines. Many practitioners keep the heart and throat centers closed off and protected, but opening these chakras can increase emotional growth, confidence, and self-esteem. Release the pose by first bringing the crown of your head to the mat, and then your whole body.
It's important to make sure you're doing it with correct alignment; otherwise, it's very easy to injure yourself! Instead, learn the pose from a qualified and knowledgeable instructor who can provide you with guidance on the correct alignment before you try the pose solo. Attempting to muscle your way into the pose simply to achieve a deeper backbend can quickly lead to injury (even if it's just a bruised ego). If you do not yet have the strength to do the pose in proper alignment, practice Reverse Table Pose (Ardha Purvottanasana) or supported Reverse Table until you can support your full bodyweight correctly.


Work toward pressing the soles of your feet into the floor while keeping your legs straight and firm. Opening up the whole front side of the body is invigorating, but doing so requires as much courage and inner strength as it does physical strength. Be sure to incorporate plenty of back-bending warm-up poses into your practice before attempting Upward Bow Pose. The deep back-bending aspect of this pose opens the lungs, which makes it therapeutic for asthma. As with other heart-opening poses, such as Camel Pose (Ustrasana), this pose can sometimes make the practitioner feel more emotionally stimulated than other poses.
If you do not yet have the strength or flexibility to do the pose in correct alignment, practice Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), or a modified version of Upward Bow with props (see Modifications & Variations, below) until you can support your full bodyweight correctly. To avoid this, wrap and secure a yoga strap around your thighs to keep the thighs parallel to each other. It takes patience and awareness to stay focused on the present moment and to accept your current circumstances, instead of always wanting to be somewhere else.
Regularly practicing Purvottanasana helps calm the mind, increases energy levels, and is also therapeutic for fatigue. A few good ones are Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), and Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana).
Additionally, this pose stimulates the thyroid and pituitary glands, increasing energy and providing relief from mild depression.
It is important to stay aware of your feelings when practicing Upward Bow; being afraid of your emotions can cause the body to stiffen, which can lead to injury. Practice a modified version of the pose until you have gained the flexibility and strength you need to safely go deeper.
As you practice lifting your heart to the sky, you might discover that true power comes from within. In that lesson, you will learn to confront challenges with ease and power, both on and off the mat.



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