Backward Bends


Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose)

Intense East Stretch Pose
Level: Intermediate

Purva = the east, or the front of the body. Uttana = stretched out, spread out, lying on the back.

Organizing the Pose


  1. Sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose).
  2. Walk the hands back behind you and place them flat on the floor.
  3. Widen the back and chest and roll the shoulders back and down.
  4. Exhale and swing the legs up towards the ceiling.
  5. Roll weight into the balls of the feet.
  6. Bring the head back last thing of all, and only if you can do it without crunching the neck.
  7. If you feel unstable in the pose, walk the feet a little bit away from you.
  8. Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds.
  9. Exhale and return to Dandasana.

Practice Points


  • Soften and widen the buttocks and the backs of the thighs.
  • Strengthen the inner thighs and widen the abdomen.
  • Lengthen the tailbone towards the feet.
  • Narrow and lift the sides of the waist.
  • Widen and lift the back ribs.
  • Widen the collarbones and shoulder blades.
  • Reach the arms down.
  • Roll the armpits up and over the collarbones towards the head.
  • Soften and widen the back of the neck.