Plank Upwards - Urdhva Mukha Purvottanasana

Parivrtta Kumbhakasana 
(Plank Upwards Pose)

(par-ee-vrit-tah kum-bak-AHS-anna)
parivrtta = to turn around, revolve 
kumbhak = withheld breath

This is an intense stretch for the east side, or front, of the body - from fingertip and shoulder, to toes - bringing power and strength. It stimulates the natural energy flow of the body and builds self-confidence and self-awareness. Plank Yoga Pose upwards develops the mind-body awareness.


 

Benefits


Strengthens the arms, wrists, and spine

Tones the abdomen

This pose tones the back, shoulders, and total core.

It also lengthens the body and creates self-awareness.

Contraindications/Cautions


Carpal tunnel syndrome

Performing the Asana


Lie supine (on the back) on the floor - you may use a blanket or bolster under your neck for support. Your heels should remain close together and firm to the mat. They will be one side of your body's base of support. Pull your elbows out to both sides of the shoulders to place both palms near to the arm pits. This is the balancing side of your body's base support.

Your shoulderblades should press away from your ears and pull back to the center of the spine with an exhalation. Pressing into the feet by pointing the toes and grounding your palms to anchor your hips off of the mat. Lift upwards through the chest similar to the midpoint of a bridge.

With your feet and thighs parallel, elongate your spine while lifting from your core. Inhale. Gaze to the sky. Continue to breathe consistently for 30 seconds.

Soften your throat and press your weight evenly among both feet and both hands. 

To release, roll the hips downwards towards the mat and gently roll each vertebrae of the spine to the mat.

Anatomical Focus


Core

Shoulders

Back

Buttocks

Modify Your Practice


Begin with your toes pressed against a wall. You may use the wall to lean the weight pressing onto the feet for support.

For weaker hips, use only one complete breath to hold the yoga pose.

Variations


After coming into the yoga position, inhale and lift one leg parallel to the floor. Press strongly through the raised heel and lengthen through the crown of your head, keeping the tailbone pressed towards the pubis. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, exhale the foot to the floor, then repeat with the left leg for the same length of time.

Complimentary Yoga Poses


Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downwards Dog Pose
Chaturanga Dandasana - Plank Lowered Pose
Paschimottanasana - Seated Forward Bend (Noble Pose)

Tips for Beginners


To help strengthen the arms in this pose, loop and secure a strap around your upper arms, just above the elbows. Push the inner arms out against this strap. Release the outer arms from the shoulders to the floor, and lift the inner arms from the bases of the index fingers to the shoulders. This will help to hold the shoulders in position to better focus on the core and lift of the hips during this yoga pose.

Deepen the Pose


Close the space between the shoulder blades. As you press the outer arms inward, push the inner borders of the shoulder blades towards the midpoint of the spine. This will assist in the lift of the chest.

Partner Practice


A partner can help you learn about the lift of the top thighs in this pose. While in the position, have your partner loop a strap around the topmost thighs, just where they join the pelvis, and lift up. Lengthen along your back thighs through your heels.