Purvottanasana (1* on the scale of difficulty) is commonly referred to as Upward Plank Pose. But, this isn’t the literal translation of the asana’s name. Iyengar says, “Purva literally means the East. It means the front of the whole body from the forehead to the toes. Uttana means an intense stretch. In this posture, the whole front of the body is stretched intensely.” So, Purvottanasana could be loosely translated as Intense Stretch to the East Pose.
The front and the back sides of our body carry with them significant meaning. As I mentioned in my post on Paschimottanasana, the back, or Western, side of the body represents the past. The front, or Eastern, side of the body represents the future. Reaching your entire front body toward the sky in Purvottanasana represents an opening toward possibility.
Purvottanasana couldn’t come at a more appropriate time for me during this journey through all the poses in Light on Yoga. I just moved to Denver less than a week ago from New York City, and every day seems filled with thoughts of how my life will shape itself here. Where will I teach? Which students will I share the practice with? Who will I be friends with?
These questions could be daunting, but I choose to let them be inspiring. Rather than constricting under the power of the unknown, I feel my heart expanding. In Purvottanasana, I raise my entire being toward the sky, offering my body upwards with complete trust in my inner strength. In Denver, I open my heart completely, expanding my range of possibilities with full faith that the universe will bring me all that is right for this moment.
What possibilities are you opening your heart to?