Purvottanasana (with brick)

(‘that which goes before you’/front body or eastern body/intense stretch)

This pose strengthens the core body and opens the chest.

  1. Have your legs extended out in front of you with your heels an inch or two away from a yoga brick.
  2. Place your hands six to eight inches back from your buttocks with your fingers pointing towards you feet.
  3. On an inhalation, raise your pelvis, keeping your legs straight. Allow your toes to point up still.
  4. Draw the upper back in and pull the chest over the back body’s supportive inwards* movement.
  5. Let the head follow the movement of the chest and upper back, drawing in the back and extending the front.
  6. Stay on the heels and allow the balls of the feet to ‘wander’ towards the brick.
  7. When the balls of the feet make contact with the brick, drive the upper back in deeper and pull the chest forwards away from the brick.
  8. Stay while you can maintain focus without force, then come down and rest.
  9. When the pose can be practised comfortably, the block can be dispensed with as shown.

*internalising, drawing deeper away from the skin

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You shouldn’t chase after the past or place expectations on the future.
What is past is left behind.
The future is as yet unreached.
Whatever quality is present you clearly see right there, right there.
Not taken in, unshaken, that’s how you develop the heart.
Ardently doing what should be done today, for — who knows? — tomorrow death.
There is no bargaining with Mortality & his mighty horde.
Whoever lives thus ardently, relentlessly both day & night, has truly had an auspicious day: so says the Peaceful Sage.

— The Buddha