Pose Breakdown: Upward-Facing Intense Stretch Pose

Learn how to hug your torso and thighs together and lengthen upward to find balance in this challenging pose.
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Annie Carpenter in Upward-Facing Stretch Pose.

In Upward-Facing Intense Stretch Pose, it's crucial to hug your torso and thighs together and lengthen upward to find balance. Here's how.

Upward-Facing Intense Stretch Pose (Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana)

Getting Into the Peak Pose: Upward-Facing Stretch Pose

From a seated position, bend your knees and hook your big toes. Lean back to the edge of your sit bones as you fi rm your legs to straighten them. On an inhalation, expand your chest. On an exhalation, fold your thighs and your torso in toward each other. Place your palms on your feet, stretching your heels upward. On an inhalation, press your shoulder blades in, drawing your chest and face up. On an exhalation, fold your legs deeper into your chest. Aim to use your hip flexors, abdominal wall, and deep spinal muscles—engaging the entire core. As these muscles work in harmony, you will fi nd your center line and come to balance on your sit bones. Hold here for 5 breaths.

See also An Annie Carpenter Sequence, Deconstructed

Alternatives to Upward-Facing Stretch Pose

About the Author

Annie Carpenter is the San Francisco–based creator of the SmartFLOW yoga method. Learn more at anniecarpenter.com