Purvottanasana or Upward Plank Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Stretch Of The East Pose
पूर्वोत्तानासन / Pūrvottānāsana
purva: “east/front of the body”
ut: “intense”
tana: “stretched”
āsana: “posture”


Purvottanasana (PUR-voh-tun-uh-suh-nuh) passively opens the chest and elongates the spine, releasing the psoas muscles and stretching the hip flexors. All back extensions improve the movements of shoulder joints.

An upward plank pose is a balancing act that requires concentration and balance. With the front of your body facing up, all weight supported on hands or feet with an inclined plane for support in this advanced yoga position which helps to increase arm strength while stretching out the entire spine evenly across the floor–it can be difficult but well worth practicing.

A study published in the International Journal of Yogic, Human Movement, and Sports Sciences stated that this pose is a great way to open up your mind and focus on positivity. It also improves the working of the respiratory system, keeps hormones in check as well as keeps you calm during stressful times because it strengthens wrists/arms back for stability – all this helps keep asthma attacks at bay.

Muscle Focus

Upward Plank Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • Shoulders (Deltoid)
  • Chest (Pectoralis)
  • Back muscles
  • Hamstrings
  • Gluteus
  • Biceps and Triceps
  • Quadriceps

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • Helps strengthen leg and arm muscles.
  • Helps to stretch shoulder muscles.
  • Opens the chest.

Benefits of Purvottanasana or Upward Plank Pose

1. It Strengthens Back

Upward facing Plank Pose is a great pose to strengthen the back muscles, especially the lower back. It also stretches out these muscles, which is essential for preventing injuries and improving posture by helping you sit up straighter in your chair or car seat when driving long distances (which many of us do daily).

2. It Strengthens Arms

Upward Plank Pose will help strengthen your arms and shoulders while lengthening them at the same time! This pose is great if you’re looking to tone those upper limbs but don’t want bulk up too much muscle mass like with bicep curls or triceps dips or other common exercises used today that target specific areas only (such as squats).

3. Improves Blood Circulation

Purvottanasana helps improve circulation throughout our bodies including blood flow into our brains. Improved blood circulation has a myriad of benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease, improving our mental clarity and focus, helping us detoxify better, and even preventing Alzheimer’s Disease!

4. Elongates Spine

The spine is one of the most important parts of our bodies that often gets neglected in our “sit more, stand less” society. Upward Plank Pose helps to elongate (stretch out) the spine which can help improve posture and reduce back pain over time with regular practice.

5. Opens Chest

As mentioned before, Purvottanasana passively opens up the chest–a great way to counteract all the hours we spend hunched over computers or steering wheels these days. This improved range of motion will also help you breathe better by allowing more oxygen into your lungs.

6. Stimulates Digestive System

Upward Plank Pose helps to stimulate the digestive system, which is excellent for those who suffer from constipation or other gastrointestinal problems like acid reflux disease (GERD). When practiced regularly this pose can alleviate symptoms of these conditions while helping you get relief without medication. It’s no wonder why so many doctors recommend yoga as a way to manage pain due to its ability in improving posture over time with consistent practice.

7. Activates Glutes

Upward Plank Pose helps to activate the glutes, which is great for those who spend long periods of time sitting down. Sitting can cause our glute muscles (buttocks) to deactivate and weaken over time if we don’t get up frequently enough throughout any given day. So it’s important that you take breaks when working at your desk or computer screen (or even driving). Purvottanasana will help keep these vital muscles strong so they can continue doing their job of supporting us during activities like walking running standing still all while helping prevent injury from happening due to weakness in this area.

8. Strengthens Wrists

The Upward Facing Plank Pose also strengthens the wrists by strengthening them through practice.


Avoid this pose if you have any wrist, neck, or shoulder injuries or pain. Use a block underneath the palms to lift the chest higher.


  • Plank Pose (Phalakasana)

Preparatory Pose

  • Staff Pose(Dandasana)
  • Plank Pose (Phalakasana)

Beginner’s Tips

  • If you find it difficult to keep your hips lifted, try placing your hands on a block or bolster for added support.
  • For those with tight hamstrings, bending the knees slightly can help make the pose more comfortable.
  • Remember to keep breathing throughout the duration of the pose.

How to do Purvottanasana or Upward Plank Pose

  • To practice this Pose, first come to the Staff Pose or Mountain Pose. From here, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground with your big toes touching each other.
  • Next, as you exhale, lift your hips up off of the mat into the Upward Plank or Purvottanasana Pose. Keep your hands in line with your shoulders and ensure that your fingers are pointing forward. You can gaze straight ahead or slightly down to help lengthen the spine.
  • Hold this pose for 30 seconds before slowly lowering yourself back down to Staff Pose.
  • Take a few breaths here before repeating the sequence again if desired. Remember to always listen to your body and stop if any discomfort is felt!

Mental Benefits of Purvottanasana or Upward Plank Pose

  • Brings mental clarity and focus
  • helps us detoxify mentally and physically
  • Helps to surrender

The Bottom Line

So if you’re looking for an all-around great pose to add to your practice, be sure to try out Upward Plank Pose (Purvottanasana). Not only will it help strengthen your back and arms, but it’ll also open up your chest and stimulate your digestive system while improving your concentration and focus.

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1 sources
  1. https://www.theyogicjournal.com/pdf/2019/vol4issue1/PartU/5-1-6-638.pdf
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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.


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