Yoga Basics: Purvottanasana or Reverse Table Top or Upward Plank Pose

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In this Yoga Basics tutorial, you will learn about Reverse Table Top, sometimes called Upward Plank Pose or Purvottanasana in Sanskrit.  This is a basic yoga pose found in many different types of yoga classes and has many different ways you can practice. Here, Jennifer talks about “best practices” you can do to help keep your back safe and pain-free, based on the alignment you will find in most Ashtanga Yoga based studios.  This pose is GREAT to help build strength in your posterior chain muscles, open up your chest and strengthen your upper body as well.

Key points to remember when working on your Purvotannasana


1) Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched.

2)  If you are new, try bending your knees and placing your feet on the ground about hips-width distance apart.

3) Place your hands on the ground behind you, fingertips facing your hips.  How far behind your hands are from your hips depends on your anatomy, but it is usually over 6 inches, but probably not more than 12 “.

4) Press down into your feet and hands and try to lift your chest and hips to where they are all in one line.

5) If your knees are bent, you want to have your hips and chest in ln with them.

6)  If you want to try a harder version, bring your hips down to the ground, extend your legs back out straight and bring your toes closer together and let your heels have a little space between them (this helps to internally rotate your hips.)

7).  Now, press down into your feet and hands and lift the hips and chest.  You are working to have your hips up high.

8) Hold your shoulders down and away from the ears in both forms of this pose.

8) Don’t overly drop your head back, bending your neck.  

9) If you have neck issues, try internally rotating your shoulders, so round them forward slightly and let your headrest back on the ledge you just created with your shoulders and THEN lift.

9) Hold this for several breaths.  This is a difficult posture, so keep practicing, the strength will come! 

Remember, always keep your stomach muscles engaged and try not to tilt that tail bone out.  (this cue can reduce back pain)  

What does Reverse Table Top Do?

This pose is a great “heart-opening” pose, stretching the muscles across the front of your chest.  It also helps to stretch your shoulders. BUT, this isn’t all about stretching, you have to really engage the posterior chain muscles to lift the hips up.  In fact, the best secret to this pose is for you to really squeeze the glute muscles like you never have before and BAM, you got two more inches higher! This pose also stretches the tops of your feet and ankles.

Chattanooga’s Thrive Yoga and Wellness and Thrive Online

If you would like to learn more about Jennifer or if you would like to practice with Jennifer in person and you’re in the Chattanooga, TN area, check out www.Thrive Yoga and Wellness.com.  We offer almost 40 classes each week in a variety of modalities from beginners to advanced, to chair and seniors all the way to super physical HIT yoga. It’s a great studio in the suburbs with ample parking and the community vibe. 

Or if you’re not in the area and still want to practice with me, you can totally do it, virtually inside the Thrive Online community.  

In this video, I was practicing on my Mantra Lux Pro mat.  A Chattanooga Based Yoga and Lifestyle company. This post was written by Jennifer Dixon MBA ERYT 500 and Authorized Ashtanga Yoga Teacher.  She is the lead teacher in the Thrive Yoga and Wellness 200 hr Yoga For Every Body Teacher Training program: the Chattanooga area’s ONLY modular 200 hr Yoga Alliance approved Teacher Training program that allows you to train when YOUR schedule allows.  With two semesters each year and plenty of opportunities to practice and train year-round, this is the BEST yoga teacher training program for busy folks. Gone are the stresses about missed training weekends, you don’t have to worry about exhaustion and tears from super long intense weekend training every month–with the Thrive Yoga Teacher Training program, you train when your schedule allows and live your best life now.  Yoga Teacher Training should be fun, come practice with us and let us show you how! Another great perk of training at Thrive? You get an unlimited membership to the studio for one full year while you train! NO ONE ELSE offers this amazing deal (worth $1100!) and it’s the PERFECT way to get the training you want with the practice you need. Our next semester starts in August of 2019! See you on the mat soon!