• T
  • H
  • M
  • Reverse Plank Yoga Pose
    and Making it Less Unlikeable

    purvottanasana, reverse plank yoga pose, ashtanga yoga poses.

    Reverse plank is quite often very uncomfortable for the backs of the legs. I'd suggest that one reason for this is that the knees aren't stabilized, instead they are kept straight by virtue of the position. There is generally no instruction given to stabilize the knee or to deliverately activate the hamstrings and/or the glutes.

    My own preference currently is to activate both the hamstrings and the glutes prior to lifting up into reverse plank.

    reverse plank, purvottanasana, hips slightly lifted, neil keleher, sensational yoga poses

    Often I'll have students engage quads first, then engage hamstrings and buttocks. Then the idea is to keep the hams and glutes engaged while lifting up.

    Use a Slight Lift To Begin With

    Rather than lifting up as high as possible straight off the bat, I'll often suggest to just lift slightly and get used to keeping the hams and glutes active. As long as the arms and feet are bearing the weight of your body and your butt and legs are clear of the floor then you are doing reverse plank.

    reverse plank, purvottanasana, with neck bent backwards. Neil Keleher, sensational yoga poses.

    As you can see I can't touch the fronts of my feet into the floor for this pose.

    I'm not too worried about it though. I don't think that touching the front of the feet to the floor changes the pose that much, not unless the fronts of the feet press down into the floor with enough pressure to actually lift the heels (or at least cause the heels to be lighter on the floor.) But if you are interested in touching your feet to the floor I'd suggest the smartest route would be to focus on lifting the hips higher.

    What I do like to play with is flexing the feet and pointing them. With the feet pointed then not only are the glutes and hams activated but the calves as well so that most of the back line of the legs is active.

    Another set of actions that I do is to bend the spine backwards and activate the shoulders prior to lifting.

    reverse plank, purvottanasana: starting position with spine bent backwards and shoulder blades retracted, hips still on floor. Neil Keleher, sensational Yoga poses.

    With hips still on the floor I first to use the shoulders to push the chest forwards. Then I bend the lumbar and thoracic spine backwards and at the same time open and expand the front of the ribcage.

    This then lenghtens the distance at the back of the hips making it easier to contract the buttocks. Then I activate buttocks and hamstrings and then I lift.

    An exercise for improving shoulder awareness while in reverse plank is to relax the shoulders so that the ribcage sinks down (you can also bend the spine forwards) and then reactivate the shoulders to lift the ribcage up.

    Reverse plank yoga pose, shoulders forwards. Neil keleher, sensational yoga poses.
    reverse plank yoga poses, shoulders open, neil keleher, sensational yoga poses.

    As mentioned I might start students of with lifting only a short distance. Then on succesive lifts the hips can be pushed gradually higher. Moving slowly up into the pose it can be easier to find the final position with less effort as opposed to just pushing up as fast and as high as possible.

    Here I should note that another technique that can make this pose feel easier prior to lifting up is to pusht the hands forwards so that the shoulders pull back.

    I think this action naturally cause the backs of the legs to activate, as if to resist the forwards push of the hands by pulling the feet rearwards.

    Other variations of this pose include doing it with feet wider and or with feet turned outwards or inwards.

    reverse plank yoga pose with feet turned out and legs spread, neil keleher, sensational yoga poses.

    Indeed this was how I first used to do the pose ot make it less uncomfortable while at the same time getting comfortable with internal and external hip rotation and exercising the outer and inner thighs. After these versions, then I'd do regular reverse plank with feet together, and knees pointing upwards.

    Review

    To make reverse plank easier, try engaging hamstrings and glutes prior to lifting.

    Another action is to try and make the knee "strong" or "stable."

    Or friction the hands forwards (towards the feet) so that the shoulders pull rearwards (away from the feet.)

    You may be interested in...

    If you have trouble with muscle control the Muscle Control Video and ebook includes simple exercises for feeling and controlling muscles and using that control to help improve flexibility.

    The Active Stretching Ebook builds up on these exercises.

    Return to Home Page from Reverse Plank Yoga Pose

    Return to Yoga for Strength

    Ashtanga Yoga

    What's New?

    Stability in Yoga Poses

    Make your yoga poses less wobbly with less effort. Grounding and centering are two techniques for creating stability in yoga poses.

    Continue reading "Stability in Yoga Poses"

    Arm Supported Yoga Poses

    Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.

    Continue reading "Arm Supported Yoga Poses"

    Joint Pain Yoga

    Rather than fighting through joint pain here is an overview of the approach that I've used to help alleviate hip pain, knee pain or shoulder joint pain while doing yoga poses.

    Continue reading "Joint Pain Yoga"

    Feeling Your Center of Gravity

    Make balancing easier. Use pressure sensitivity to feel your center of gravity.

    Continue reading "Feeling Your Center of Gravity"

    How to do Squats

    A yoga approach to how to do squats including how to stay balanced, and avoiding knee or hip pain even while going all the way down.

    Continue reading "How to do Squats"

    Camel Yoga Pose

    Camel Yoga Pose or ustrasana is a kneeling pose that can be used to stretch the hip flexors. One key action that may help in getting your pelvis forwards more is pushing your hands forwards, either against your feet or against the floor.

    Continue reading "Camel Yoga Pose"

    Transverse Abdominis and Sacroiliac Joint Stability

    The transverse abdominis can have an affect on sacroiliac joint stability as well as stability of the lumbar spine and the T12/L1 junction.

    Continue reading "Transverse Abdominis and Sacroiliac Joint Stability"

    Fluid Tensegrity Joint Anatomy

    Fluid tensegrity joint anatomy looks at the tendency of the body to maintain space within the joints. The question is, how is this space maintained?

    Continue reading "Fluid Tensegrity Joint Anatomy"

    Why Improve Body Awareness

    Why improve body awareness? So that you can use your body more effectively and fix problems yourself when they arise.

    Continue reading "Why Improve Body Awareness"

    Tensegrity

    How is tensegrity maintained at the joints even as the body adopts non-tensegrity postures or movements?

    Continue reading "Tensegrity"

    Being Present

    Why being present is the oppositve of thinking and how to utilize both modes effecively.

    Continue reading "Being Present"

    Pigeon Yoga Pose

    Pigeon yoga pose variations include lifting the front hip and resting it on the floor. Learn how to activate the front hip in either variation for better hip control and more effective stretching.

    Continue reading "Pigeon Yoga Pose"

    Creating Tensegrity In Yoga Poses

    Creating tensegrity in yoga poses. What is tensegrity, why should we aim to achieve it when doing yoga or any other activity where mindfullness is required?

    Continue reading "Creating Tensegrity In Yoga Poses"

    Obturator Externus Anatomy for Yoga Teachers

    Obturator externus anatomy for yoga teachers. If you have hip pain in forward bends and your hip feels weak, obturator externus may be the culprit.

    Continue reading "Obturator Externus Anatomy for Yoga Teachers"

    Yoga Stretches for Tight Hamstrings

    Yoga stretches for tight hamstrings. Learn to feel when your legs are active and when they are relaxed so that you can gradually stretch tight hamstrings.

    Continue reading "Yoga Stretches for Tight Hamstrings"

    Adding Bigness to Your Yoga Poses

    An experienced yogi's yoga pose has a sense of bigness. How do you as a beginner add bigness to your yoga poses?

    Continue reading "Adding Bigness to Your Yoga Poses"

    Basic Yoga Sequence Part 1

    Basic yoga sequence for flexibility. Includes hip, hamstring, quad stretches and neck stretches and recovery exercises.

    Continue reading "Basic Yoga Sequence Part 1"

    Back Strengthening Yoga Poses

    Back strengthening yoga poses can be used to strengthen the back of the body including hamstrings, glutes and both the lower and upper back.

    Continue reading "Back Strengthening Yoga Poses"

    Handstand Intro 6

    A look at getting your feet off of the wall and balancing in handstand plus tips for greater arm stability.

    Continue reading "Handstand Intro 6"

    Yoga Pose Sequences for Flexibility and Strength

    Yoga pose sequences for flexibility and strength. These sequences can be used for improving hip and shoulder flexibility and strength.

    Continue reading "Yoga Pose Sequences for Flexibility and Strength"