How to practice: Pūrvattānāsana (Eastern/front intense stretch Pose)

by Delight Yoga

Pūrvattānāsana, or Western/back intense stretch pose, is the seventh posture in the Primary Series of the Astanga Vinyasa yoga system. 

The Primary Series is said to be the most demanding because it is the first series you learn as a beginner - and every beginning is hard.  It is called Yoga Chikitsa, meaning Yoga Therapy. It is a series for cleansing and healing the body. 

The Primary Series sets the foundation for all of the following series. If you look superficially, it may seem as if the Primary Series is the easiest of the six series in the Astanga Vinyasa System, but in fact, it is the most demanding. It is here that you start your practice, where you get used to the breath and Vinyasas, and to your daily yoga practice. 
 

Pūrvattānāsana Instructions

1. ekam
Inhale, raise arms overhead, palms together
Dhristi: to the middle of the thumb (añguṣṭhamadhye)

2. dve
Exhale, fold forward, hands to ground
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

3. trīṇi
Inhale, lift head, lengthen the spine
Dhristi: in the middle of the eyebrows (bhrūmadhye)

4. catvāri
Exhale, hands down, float back, elbows close to chest (Caturāṅga Daṇḍāsana)
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

5. pañca
Inhale, roll on tops of feet, open the chest, straighten arms
Dhristi: in the middle of the eyebrows (bhrūmadhye)

6. ṣaṭ
Exhale, roll over the toes, push back, lift hips, straight arms. 
Dhristi: to the navel (nābicakre)

7. sapta
Inhale, jump through to sitting, straight legs
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

- Exhale, place hands behind back

8. aṣṭau
Inhale, lift hips, drop the head back, stretch the legs, toes to the ground

- 5 breaths, Pūrvattānāsana
  Dhristi: in the middle of the eyebrows (bhrūmadhye)

9. nava
Exhale, lower down to the floor
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

10. daśa
Inhale, cross legs and lift up balancing on the arms
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

11. ekādaśa
Exhale, jump back to Caturāṅga Daṇḍāsana 
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

12. dvādaśa
Inhale, roll on tops of feet, open the chest, straighten arms
Dhristi: in the middle of the eyebrows (bhrūmadhye)

13. trayodaśa
Exhale, roll over the toes, push back, lift hips, straight arms.
Dhristi: to the navel (nābicakre)

14. caturdaśa
Inhale, jump feet between hands, lengthen the spine, lift your head up
Dhristi: in the middle of the eyebrows (bhrūmadhye)

15. pañcadaśa
Exhale, head to knees
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

- Inhale, stand all the way up, arms on sides, Samasthitiḥ, exhale
  Dhristi : to the nose (nāsāgre)
 

Pūrvattānāsana Benefits

- Strengthens the whole body (especially core body strength)

- Strengthens the wrists and the ankles

- Improves movements in the shoulder joints

- Opens the chest

- Benefits the nervous system, the heart and the lungs

- Relieves fatigue from forward bending (counterpose)