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Inclined Plane Pose (purvottanasana)

Back bend that relieves tension in your neck and shoulders.
 

Inclined Plane Pose (or purvottanasana) is an energizing pose that strengthens your entire body, with an emphasis on strengthening your upper body. This pose provides a good stretch to the front of your body, which helps to open your chest and improve the flexibility of your shoulders. You can also use this pose to relieve tension in your neck and shoulders.
 
If you find it difficult to place your palms shoulder width apart in Inclined Plane Pose, you can place your palms as close together as is comfortable for you. Once your palms are in a comfortable position, make sure your body forms a straight line from your shoulders down to your feet. Do not allow your buttocks to drop toward the floor.
 
Use caution performing this pose if you have an injury to your neck, arms or shoulders. Also, be careful performing this pose if you have a wrist injury, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
 
Steps:
Begin in Staff Pose.
Place your palms on the floor behind your hips, shoulder width apart.
(Your fingers should be pointing away from you.)
Press your palms and heels into the floor.
Inhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling.
(Your wrists should be directly below your shoulders.)
Press the soles of your feet toward the floor.
Relax your neck and allow your head to gently drop back.
(Keep your body straight. You should not allow your buttocks to drop down.)
(Visualize your body lengthening from your shoulders to the soles of your feet.)
Hold the pose for 5 to 20 seconds.
To come out of the pose, exhale as you lower your hips to the floor.
(After performing Inclined Plane Pose, you should shake out your hands to help relieve your wrists.)
 
How can I reduce the weight on my arms and wrists in this pose?
Begin the pose with your knees bent, hip width apart and your feet flat on the floor. After you press your palms into the floor and lift your hips toward the ceiling, keep your knees bent to allow your feet to support some of your weight.
 
My neck feels strained in this pose. What can I do?
To reduce the strain on your neck, perform the pose with your chin tucked into your chest instead of dropping your head back.
 
What can I do if I find Inclined Plane Pose too difficult?
Perform steps 1 and 2 above and then inhale as you lift your chest and look up at the ceiling without dropping your head back. Make sure you keep your hips on the floor.
 
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