Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana aka ‘upward face intense west side stretch pose’ is, as the name suggests, an intense leg stretch position.
How to get into the position
From ‘Staff Pose’ i.e. sitting on the floor with both of your legs stretched out in front of you: Inhale, bring your toes and knees forward, grasp your feet by the toes with your first two fingers and thumb and straighten your spine. Then extend your legs up in front of you and open your torso as you exhale; catching the balance of the position just behind your sitting bones.
Hold the position for five full breaths. On the inhalation, extend your spine. On the exhalation, move your elbows back. Fix your vision point on the floor ahead of you.
Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana:
Stimulates the reproductive organs
Stretches and strengthens the shoulder joints, spine and abdomen
Improves body posture
Helps dissolve fat from the waistline
Helps open your sacral chakra (svadhisthana chakra)
Contraindications and Cautions
Avoid this posture if you have any issues with your lower back. I would also advise caution if you have any issues with your hip(s) ankle(s) or knee(s).
Damian Cadman-Jones is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga™