Urdhva Paschimottasana

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Urdhva Paschimottasana Mean?

Urdhva paschimottasana is an intermediate seated posture that requires balance and flexibility. The name comes from the Sanskrit urdhva, meaning “upward” or “raised”; paschim, meaning “west” (referring to the back of the body); uttana, meaning “stretched out”; and asana, which translates as “posture” or “pose.”

The posture resembles seated forward bend tipped upward. The yogi balances on the buttocks with the straight legs pointed to the sky and the upper body folded toward the legs. The arms either wrap around the legs or stretch toward the toes.

In English, urdhva paschimottasana it is known as by several names: upward westward pose, elevated or upward forward bend pose, or upward intense posterior pose.


Yogapedia Explains Urdhva Paschimottasana

Urdhva paschimottasana is one of the poses in the primary series of Ashtanga yoga. In addition to lengthening the spine and improving balance, urdhva paschimottasana boosts concentration, calms the mind and balances prana energy in the body.

Traditionally, the posture is believed to open the manipura (solar plexus) chakra, which is associated with the fire element. By activating manipura, urdhva paschimottasana builds self-esteem, confidence and a sense of purpose. Manipura has the energy of transforming power and self motivation. It also controls digestion and metabolism.

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