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Inclined Plane Pose (Purvottanasana)
With Dr Kiki Morriss
Inclined Plane Pose (Purvottanasana) is an energetic asana that’s great as a counterpose to the forward bends in your practice
In Purvottanasana you stretch the front of your body, whilst strengthening your entire posterior kinetic chain. This is the group of muscles at the back of your body, including the gastrocnemius, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, quadratus lumborum and erector spinae. Use this energising asana as a counterpose to the forward bends in your practice.
The benefits of this pose:
- Opens and lifts your chest.
- Extends and externally rotates your shoulders.
- Stretches the front of your body, including the psoas muscles.
- Strengthens your entire posterior kinetic chain (gastrocnemius, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, quadratus lumborum and erector spinae.)
- A good counterpose after forward bends.
- Energises your body.
- Relaxes & focuses your mind.
- Do not practice the pose if you have ankle, knee, back, shoulder, wrist or neck injuries.
- If you feel pain or discomfort in your wrists, try slightly bending your elbows.
- If you feel pain or discomfort in your neck, try lifting your head rather than allowing it to drop back.
- From the final stage of Purvottanasana, inhale and raise your right leg straight up. Hold the pose for a few deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
- From the final stage of Purvottanasana, inhale and raise your right arm whilst leaning slightly to the left. Hold the pose for a few deep breaths. Repeat on the other side. Do not practice this if you feel discomfort in your wrists.
- Try moving between the final stage of Purvottanasana and Dandasana a few times. Inhale as you lift your chest into Purvottanasana. Exhale as you lower into Dandasana.
- To make this more dynamic, try keeping your buttocks just off the mat in Dandasana. Press your hands firmly on your mat throughout the sequence.
MOVING INTO THE POSE - PRELIMINARY STAGE
- Sit on your mat with your knees bent and your feet hip width apart.
- Place your palms on the floor behind you with your fingers facing forwards.
- Keep your lower legs perpendicular to the ground.
- Open your chest and straighten your elbows.
- Gently allow your head to drop back.
- Breathe 5 times in this pose.
- Either return to the starting position or move onto the final stage.
MOVING INTO THE POSE – FINAL STAGE
- Walk your feet away from you until your legs are straight.
- Step your feet together.
- Press the soles of your feet on the mat as you flex your ankles
- Continue to lift your buttocks and open your chest.
- Hold the final pose for 5 slow, mindful breaths.
FOCUS YOUR GAZE
- Your focal point (dristi) is a fixed point straight ahead of you or at the tip of your nose.
FOCUS ON YOUR ARMS & HANDS
- Internally rotate your forearms.
- Flex your wrists and press your palms onto the mat.
- Activate your triceps to extend your elbows.
- Use your infraspinatus and teres minor muscles to externally rotate the humeri.
FOCUS ON YOUR POSTERIOR KINETIC CHAIN
- Use your gastrocnemius, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, quadratus lumborum and erector spinae (the entire posterior kinetic chain) to lift your body into the pose.
- Lift and open the front of your pelvis.
FOCUS ON YOUR UPPER BODY
- Activate your rhomboids and lower third of the trapezius to bring your shoulder blades towards the midline.
- Soften your shoulders away from your ears.
- Gently allow your head to drop back as you lift & open your chest.
- Relax your jaw and allow space between your back teeth.
- Open the front of your throat.
- Arch your upper back as you lift your chest.
FOCUS ON YOUR LEGS & FEET
- Activate your quadriceps to straighten your knees.
- This contraction will aid the lift of your pelvis, as your feet are grounded on the mat.
- Keep your kneecaps facing upwards and draw them up towards your thighs.
- Use your gastrocnemius and soleus (calf) muscles to flex your ankles and press your feet into your mat.
- Spread the weight across the soles of your feet.
COMING OUT OF THE POSE
- Bend your knees and elbows as you gently lower your buttocks to the ground.