How To Do Upward Plank Pose (Purvottanasana)

Upward Plank Pose or Purvottanasana in Sanskrit, can help strengthen your arms, shoulders, and core. This pose may look intimidating at first, but with proper preparation and practice, anyone can master it.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps of how to do Upward Plank correctly, as well as share some tips for common mistakes and modifications.

So roll out your mat and let’s get started!

Preparatory Video

Step-by-step Pose Instructions

Here are the steps to perform Purvottanasana:

  • Begin by sitting on your mat with your legs extended in front of you.
  • Place your hands on the mat behind your hips, fingers pointing towards your feet. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and your fingers spread wide for stability.
  • Press through your hands and lift your hips off the mat, coming into a reverse plank position. Your arms should be straight, and your shoulders should be stacked directly above your ankles.
  • Point your toes and press through your heels, engaging your leg muscles.
  • Keep your legs active and strong, with your thighs and knees lifted.
  • Lift your chest and open your heart, drawing your shoulder blades together and down towards your tailbone.
  • Avoid collapsing into your shoulders. Instead, broaden your collarbones and keep your neck long.
  • Gaze forward or slightly upwards, avoiding strain on your neck.
  • Engage your core muscles and lift your pelvis towards the ceiling to create a straight line from your head to your heels.
  • Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds, or as long as you feel comfortable.
  • To release the pose, slowly lower your hips back down to the mat.


  • Focus on creating a strong foundation through your hands and feet.
  • Keep your core engaged to support your lower back and maintain stability.
  • Lengthen through your spine, lifting your chest and avoiding rounding in the upper back.
  • If you have wrist discomfort, you can modify the pose by placing your hands on blocks or using fists for support.
  • Gradually increase your hold time in the pose as you build strength and flexibility.
  • Be mindful of any strain or discomfort in your shoulders or wrists. Modify the pose or come out of it if necessary.
  • Regular practice can help strengthen your arms, wrists, and core muscles, as well as improve your posture.

Purvottanasana Benefits

The Upward Plank Pose offers numerous benefits:

  1. Strengthens the Back and Shoulders: The pose strengthens the muscles in the back, shoulders, and arms. Also helping to improve posture and alleviate back pain.
  2. Stretches the Front Body: It provides a deep stretch to the front of the body. Including the chest, shoulders, and abdomen, promoting flexibility and relieving tension.
  3. Boosts Core Strength: The pose engages the core muscles. Enhancing overall body strength, stability, and balance.
  4. Stimulates the Respiratory System: By opening up the chest and shoulders, the pose improves breathing capacity and stimulates the respiratory system. This is promoting better oxygen flow to the muscles and organs.
  5. Energizes the Body: Practicing Purvottanasana can help to energize and rejuvenate the entire body, reducing fatigue and boosting mood.
  6. Improves Balance and Concentration: Holding the pose requires balance and focus. This can help to improve concentration and mental clarity.

Remember, it’s always important to practice yoga poses like Purvottanasana under the guidance of a trained yoga instructor. Especially if you’re a beginner or have any pre-existing health conditions.

Now that you know about all the amazing benefits, it’s time to prepare for this challenging but rewarding posture.

Upward Plank Yoga Pose Purvottanasana / Canva

Preparing for Upward Plank

Before jumping into the full expression of this empowering pose, let’s take a moment to prepare your body. As a beginner, it’s important to start with complementary poses that’ll help open up and strengthen the shoulders, chest, upper back, thighs, and hips.

Begin in a tabletop position with your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. From here, lift your hips up into Downward Facing Dog. Then pedal out your feet to stretch the calves and hamstrings.

Then shift forward into Plank Pose and lower yourself down onto your forearms. With palms facing down on the ground, press through your forearms to engage the upper back muscles. Try to hold for 5-10 breaths before coming back to tabletop position.

These preparatory movements will warm up your body. While also helping you establish proper alignment and engagement in key areas of the body.

Now that you’ve warmed up properly, it’s time to move on. But before we do that, let’s take note of some common mistakes people make when attempting this pose…

Reverse Tabletop Common Mistakes

Are you making these common mistakes in upward plank? Let’s take a closer look at what to avoid when practicing this pose.

One of the most common mistakes is allowing your chin to drop towards your chest as you lift up into upward plank. This can put unnecessary strain on your neck and cause discomfort during the pose. Instead, keep your chin level with the ground and gaze forward towards the horizon.

Another mistake to avoid is placing your hands too far behind your hips or not aligning them correctly with your shoulders. This can create an unstable base for the pose and make it difficult to hold for an extended period of time.

To properly align yourself, start in dandasana (staff pose) and then place your hands about shoulder-width apart, fingertips pointing towards your toes. Keep a slight bend in your knees as you lift up into upward plank. Engaging your core muscles and pressing down through the palms of your hands for stability.

Now that you know what mistakes to avoid during the exercise. Let’s explore some modifications that can help deepen the stretch. And make this challenging posture more accessible for all levels of practitioners.

Modifications for Upward Plank Pose

Let’s explore some ways to modify the asana and make it more accessible for all levels of practitioners.

If you find that placing your hands and feet on the ground is too challenging. Try starting in tabletop pose with your hands shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart.

From there, lift your hips up towards the ceiling while keeping your arms straight and pressing firmly into your palms. This will help build strength in your core, shoulders, and wrists before attempting the full expression.

Another modification is to practice reverse tabletop as a counter pose to open up the chest and stretch the inner thighs.

To do this, start in a seated position with your hands behind you on the ground and fingers pointing towards your feet.

Lift your hips up so that they are level with your knees, creating a table-like shape with your body. Hold this position for several breaths before transitioning back into it.

Remember to engage your core muscles throughout each variation of this posture to support both stability and flexibility within the respiratory system.

Now that you’ve explored modifications, let’s move onto tips for progressing in this challenging posture without compromising proper form or alignment.

Upward Plank Pose Purvottanasana / Canva

Tips for Progressing in Upward Plank Yoga Pose Stretches

Get ready to take your asana to the next level with these helpful tips for progressing in this challenging posture! As you work on building strength and flexibility in your front body, chest, and shoulders.

Incorporating preparatory poses like reverse plank pose can help you gradually build up to the full expression of upward plank.

Here are three tips to keep in mind as you work towards mastering this powerful eastward facing stretch:

  • Start with a solid foundation: Before attempting upward plank, make sure you have a strong core and stable wrists. Practice holding a high plank or forearm plank for several breaths at a time to build up your core strength. You can also do wrist strengthening exercises like wrist circles or push-ups on your fists.
  • Use your body weight wisely: In upward plank, it’s easy to rely too much on pushing down through the hands and not enough on engaging the glutes and hamstrings. To avoid this, focus on lifting your hips up towards the sky while keeping your feet grounded firmly into the mat. This will help distribute your weight evenly throughout the entire body.
  • Seek guidance from yoga teachers and students: If you’re struggling with upward plank or any other yoga pose, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Experienced yoga teachers and fellow students can offer valuable insights into alignment cues, modifications, and variations that can help you progress safely.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way towards mastering it. Ready for enjoying all its benefits for strength, flexibility, and overall wellbeing. Keep practicing regularly with patience and persistence – remember that progress takes time!Purvottanasana Upward Plank Pose / Canva

Reverse Tabletop Pose Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I hold upward plank for?

To get the most out of your posture, you should aim to hold it for at least 30 seconds. This will allow your body to fully engage and benefit from the pose’s strengthening and stretching effects.

Is the Upward Plank Pose suitable for beginners?

Yes, beginners can practice the asana, starting with preparatory poses like the tabletop pose or the bent knees variation.

Can I practice the Upward Plank Pose if I have back issues?

Consult with a healthcare provider or a knowledgeable yoga instructor before practicing if you have back issues.

What are some variations of the Upward Plank Pose?

Variations include lifting one foot off the floor or using props like blocks or a chair for support.

What does “Purvottanasana” mean?

“Purvottanasana” is a Sanskrit term meaning “eastward facing intense stretch,” symbolizing a new beginning as the sun rises from the east.


The Upward Plank Pose, also known as Purvottanasana in Sanskrit, is a great pose that provides numerous benefits.

The Sanskrit name translates to “eastward facing stretch”. It’s symbolizing new beginnings as east is the direction where the sun rises. This pose is a favorite among yoga teachers and students for its ability to energize the entire body.

Purvottanasana is a counter pose to many forward bends and resembles the plank pose, but with a twist. It’s often referred to as the reverse plank pose or reverse tabletop pose. This is due to the position of the body during the pose.

The body weight is supported by the hands and feet. With the front of the body facing upward, resembling a tabletop. The hands are placed a few inches behind your hips. The fingers pointing towards the feet, and the soles of your feet are flat on the floor, legs extended forward.

Throughout the pose, it’s important to keep your chin slightly tucked towards your chest. And your gaze toward the ceiling. This helps to maintain alignment and balance. You can also opt to release your head back. Allowing it to hang toward the floor, but only if it feels comfortable to do so.

The posture stretches the front body, including the chest and shoulders. While strengthening the back of the body. It also strengthens the core, enhancing overall strength and flexibility.

The pose provides a deep stretch to the front of your body. From the toes to the neck. The upward plank variation involves lifting one foot off the floor, increasing the challenge and benefits of the pose.

Practicing Purvottanasana regularly can stimulate the respiratory system, improving breathing capacity. Holding Purvottanasana easily for a few breaths can also help to remove stiffness of the back.

The pose instructions often suggest using two blocks or even a chair for support With your hands on the chair or blocks and your feet on the edge of the chair or floor.

The preparatory poses for Purvottanasana include the tabletop pose and the bent knees variation. Where your knees are bent and your feet flat on the floor. These poses develop the necessary strength and flexibility for the full pose. Complementary poses include other yogic poses that strengthen the back and stretch the front of the body.

In conclusion, the Upward Plank Pose is a powerful pose that strengthens and stretches the body. It stimulates the respiratory system, and energizes the entire body. It’s a pose that can be easily incorporated into any yoga practice for its numerous benefits.




Upward Plank Pose / Canva