Reverse Prayer Yoga Pose Arm Position

reverse prayer, prayer behind the back, parsvottanasana, yoga poses, yoga asana, yoga pose arm positions

Reverse prayer can be a good way to prepare for wheel pose.

You can practice reverse prayer position (hands behind the back with palms together) while sitting or standing, or while bending forwards and stretching the hamstrings in parsvottanasana.

parsvottanasana, reverse prayer forward fold, shoulder stretch for fronts of shoulders, hamstring stretch

This arm position can be used to help stretch your chest and the fronts of the shoulders. It's also stretches the fronts (palm side) of the wrists.

Preparing Your Shoulders

The first part of getting your arms into position behind your back is rolling the arms inwards while reaching them back (and out) at the same time.

You could think of this as "internally rotating" the arms.

If you have trouble doing this with both arms at the same time, then practice first with one arm at a time as shown below.

reverse prayer, prayer behind the back, parsvottanasana, yoga poses, yoga asana, yoga pose arm positionsreverse prayer, prayer behind the back, parsvottanasana, yoga poses, yoga asana, yoga pose arm positions

When you internally rotate the arm at the shoulder, the front of the arms roll inwards. This means that the back of the arms roll outwards, away from the spine.

This helps to give you room so that you can bring your hands together behind your back.

Practicing Internal Rotation for the Shoulders

You may find that if you rotate your arms inwards enough, then when you bend your elbows your forearms move behind your back. In this case, with arms rolled inwards, your forearms will be pointing slightly backwards.

reverse prayer, prayer behind the back, parsvottanasana, yoga poses, yoga asana, yoga pose arm positionsreverse prayer, prayer behind the back, parsvottanasana, yoga poses, yoga asana, yoga pose arm positionsreverse prayer, prayer behind the back, parsvottanasana, yoga poses, yoga asana, yoga pose arm positions

I'd suggest that if you can't get your hands behind your back, then practice internally rotating your arms. Rather than holding the internal rotation you practice rotating and then releasing in time with your breath. Focus on feeling your arms and shoulders as you practice and see if you can notice where the tight spots are. Again you may also benefit by working with one arm at a time. Do not be afraid to bend your ribcage forwards as you rotate your arms inwards.

Hand Options

Even if you can internally rotate your arms you may still have difficulty getting your palms together in reverse prayer.

An option, shown below is to make both hands into fists.

When doing the double fist option, you can first have the back of the hands against your back.

Then flip your fists so that the bottom of each fist faces downwards (bottom left two pictures).

Then with both hands in fists progress to one hand open (bottom right). Note that with this option, with just the right hand fisted you could try starting with both hands to the right. Then gradually move your hands to the center of your back.

reverse prayer, prayer behind the back, parsvottanasana, yoga poses, yoga asana, yoga pose arm positionsreverse prayer, prayer behind the back, parsvottanasana, yoga poses, yoga asana, yoga pose arm positionsreverse prayer, prayer behind the back, parsvottanasana, yoga poses, yoga asana, yoga pose arm positions

One you are able to do reverse prayer comfortably, another option for increasing shoulder and wrist flexibility is to move both hands to the side with palms together.

Move both hands to the right so that your hands are to the right side of your ribcage, but behind your back (shown below). Then try the same thing to the left.

reverse prayer with hands to the side, prayer behind the back with hands to one side.

Opening Your Chest and Shoulders

Once you can get your hands together behind your back in reverse prayer you can practice moving your shoulders and elbows back.

You can do this using any of the above hand positions. I'd suggest that again you practice doing this in sync with your breath.

As you inhale open your chest (bend you thoracic spine backwards) and at the same time move your elbows back to open the front of your shoulders. Then as you exhale relax your chest and let your elbows move forwards (first two pictures below).

As you get used to the position you can keep your chest open and your elbows back. You can also work at sliding your hands higher up your back (last picture below.)

reverse prayer, prayer behind the back, parsvottanasana, yoga poses, yoga asana, yoga pose arm positionsreverse prayer, prayer behind the back, parsvottanasana, yoga poses, yoga asana, yoga pose arm positionsreverse prayer, prayer behind the back, parsvottanasana, yoga poses, yoga asana, yoga pose arm positions

Reverse prayer can be a good way to prepare and open the chest for wheel pose.

Return to Home Page

Return to Yoga Poses from Reverse Prayer

Return to Top, Contact Me, Notes, FACEBOOK

What's New?

Tensegrity Basics

Tensegrity basics: tension doesn't just integrate the body, it can be used for proprioception and for responsiveness and quicker reactions.

Continue reading "Tensegrity Basics"

Proper Yoga Alignment

What is proper yoga alignment for handstand? Why not learn to feel and control your shoulders and ribcage so that you can learn to feel when your body is best aligned.

Continue reading "Proper Yoga Alignment"

Pistol Squat Progression Video

In this video some tips for body weight squat and the one legged pistol squat with a focus on "feeling your body."

Why do a pistol squat? To improve hip strength and left/right hip balance. This may help to alleviate low back pain.

Continue reading "Pistol Squat Progression Video"

Dance of Shiva Videos

This dance of shiva video playlist includes cyclic movement combinations: F-F, B-B, F-B, B-F, CF-CF, CB-CB, CF-CB, CB-CF.

Continue reading "Dance of Shiva Videos"

Beginners Side Plank Video

Learn how to stabilize the shoulder and hip in side plank.

This video goes over some basic body awareness exercises you can do while working towards side plank.

Continue reading "Beginners Side Plank Video"

Beginners Yoga Routine

This Beginners Yoga Routine is from the ebook Yoga Basics 2, Muscle Control and Stability Exercises for More Flexible Hamstrings. It's designed to introduce a sequence of basic yoga poses.

Continue reading "Beginners Yoga Routine"

Downward Facing Dog

Having trouble getting your heels down in downward facing dog? Here's an easy way to sink them lower included with a discussion on how to use downward dog as a preparation for wheel pose.

Continue reading "Downward Facing Dog"

Triangle Pose

In triangle pose work on hip stability and foot and leg control to help sink the ribcage towards the leg.

Continue reading "Triangle Pose"

Yoga Tree Pose

Simple instructions for getting into yoga tree pose and how to make both sides even while doing this yoga balancing pose.

Continue reading "Yoga Tree Pose"

Yoga Postures for Back Pain

The following is a series of gentle yoga for back pain relief. The head is supported in nearly all postures allowing the muscles of the back and hip to relax in a variety of positions.

Continue reading "Yoga Postures for Back Pain"

Conscious Proprioception

Conscious proprioception is the ability to focus awareness on discrete elements of the body. It can lead to easier learning of physical activities or simply better movement and body control.

Continue reading "Conscious Proprioception"

Purvottanasana

Lots of people hate purvottanasana. Try pushing the hands forwards against the floor to make revese plank/straight bridge easier.

Continue reading "Purvottanasana"

Ashtanga Yoga Poses

An overview of the sequence of ashtanga yoga poses with links to more detailed descriptions.

Continue reading "Ashtanga Yoga Poses"

Hamstring Strengthening Exercises

Turn forward bending and backbending yoga poses into hamstring strengthening exercises for better hamstring awareness and control.

Continue reading "Hamstring Strengthening Exercises"

Yoga Basics 1

Yoga Basics 1, Learning to create space in your body and balancing space and tension to create a yoga pose that is "alive" with minimum effort.

Continue reading "Yoga Basics 1"

Yoga Poses

Grouped yoga poses including: sun saluates, backbends, forward bends, binds, arm balances, twisting poses, standing poses, seated poses. Poses are grouped to make it easier to create a balanced and complete yoga practice.

Continue reading "Yoga Poses"

Body Aware

To become more body aware you can isolate body parts and focus on the feet, the spine or the breath. It doesn't matter what part of the body you start of with so long as you start somewhere.

Continue reading "Body Aware"

Crow Pose

Some simple exercises to help you prepare for and balance in crow pose and some suggestions for advanced movements like jumping from bakasana into chaturanga dandasana.

Continue reading "Crow Pose"

Forward Head Posture

Forward head posture can result from computer work, stress, or poor body awareness. Here's some simple exercises to help feel your way into better posture.

Continue reading "Forward Head Posture"

Bridge Yoga Pose

In Bridge yoga pose increase the back bend of the hips and lumbar spine by moving the sacrum. Rather than saying which position is better the idea is to experiment and notice how both positions feel. And you may find the action of moving back and forwards between both positions helps you to get deeper into the backbend.

Continue reading "Bridge Yoga Pose"