Upward Plank Pose - Purva Uttanasana

Upward Plank Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska


Upward Plank Pose or Purva Uttanasana in Sanskrit (‘purva’ = ‘east’, ‘ut tan’ = ‘intense stretch’ and ‘asana’ = ‘posture’) is a yoga pose that strengthens and stretches the entire body, particularly the wrists, arms, shoulders, spine, and legs.

In yogic language, the front part of the body, from the tips of the toes to the crown of the head, is considered the east. Hence, in Upward Plank Pose (Purva Uttanasana or East Intense Stretch Posture in other words), the entire front portion of the body is stretched to the maximum in a slight back bend. It is just the opposite side of the body which is stretched and hence related to the Plank Pose.

This pose is generally practiced after Paschimottanasana. Upward Plank Pose is considered a base pose as upward plank pose variations can be derived from this pose. Upward Plank Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Sit with your legs outstretched in front of you in Dandasana.
Step 2
Place your hands a little behind your hips with the fingers pointing towards the toes, point your toes.
Step 3
Roll your inner thighs in, draw your belly in and up, and as you inhale, lift your hips up as high as you can, keeping your chin to your chest.
Step 4
Firm your shoulder blades on your back to help lift your chest up.
Step 5
When your chest is lifted you may choose to bring your head back.
Step 6
Keep your chin tucked when you bring your head back, to the point where you can’t keep it tucked anymore. Then gently release your head.
Step 7
Alternatively, if this feels too much for your neck, keep your head up and your chin towards your chest.
Step 8
Stay here for about 5 breaths, then as you exhale, lower your hips back down into Dandasana.

Benefits and Contraindications


Strengthens the arms, wrists and legs

Stretches the shoulders, chest, and front ankles


Wrist injury

With a neck injury, support the head on a wall or chair seat

Photo poses in different angles


If you find this too challenging, bend your knees and lift up into a reverse tabletop. Find a hand position that suits your shoulders: fingers point forward or away from you. Engage your gluteus muscles (buttocks) to support you in this pose.

Be mindful of your neck – if there are any injuries or existing weaknesses in your neck, keep your chin to your chest. Keep your wrists directly under your shoulders in this pose.

Try moving dynamically between Purvottanasana and Dandasana a few times – creating a swinging action. Keep pressing through the hands so your hips remain off the floor in Dandasana. You can also place your hands on blocks for this variation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Modifications & Variations

  • One-Legged Upward Plank Pose
  • Upward Plank Pose Aerial
  • One-Arm Upward Plank Pose
  • Forearm Upward Plank Pose
  • Double Upward Plank Pose Feet Shoulders Partner
  • Upward Plank Pose One Leg Raised Wheel
  • Upward Plank Pose Hands Chair
  • Reverse Table Top Pose Legs In Figure Four
  • Upward Plank Pose Foot On Knee
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Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

In love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. Iana is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) who has completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification by the Yoga Alliance U.S. In addition to that, she is constantly studying and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, biomechanics, and holodynamics.