Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Purva Mean?

Purva is a Sanskrit word that can be translated as “east” and it refers to one of the directions described in yogic philosophy. The other directions are pashima, uttar, daksini, adhara and urdhva.

The origins of these terms to assign directions is explained in the yogic text, the Varaha Purana. This describes how Purva, along with Daksina, Pashima, Uttara, Urdhva and Adhara were six divine women, created by Lord Brahma during his early phase of creation.


Yogapedia Explains Purva

Best known perhaps for its use to describe aspects of yoga asana, purva or east side is associated with the whole of the front of the body, while pashima, which means west, refers to the back of the body. The left side of the body is connected with uttar, the direction of north, and the right side of the body, is associated with daksini, which means south.

Purva forms part of the asana name purvottanasana, which can be translated as “intense east side posture.” In this posture, where the body forms a reverse plank shape, the front of the body, the purva side is stretched and opened.

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