Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana: Upward Facing Seated Forward Bend

27 November 2023 by
Editorial team

This variation of the seated forward bend Paschimottanasana is both challenging and fun. It may be best to enter it from the boat pose. In Sanskrit, Urdhva means "upward," Mukha means "face," Paschimo means "west," and Uttanasana means "intense stretch," so Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana translates to Upward Facing Seated Forward Bend. This pose strengthens the abdominal muscles, lower back, and esophagus.


  1. Prepare:
    • Sit with your legs bent.
    • Hold your toes with two fingers of each hand.
  2. Straighten Your Legs:
    • Keeping your back straight and without letting go of your toes, straighten your legs upward.
    • Ensure your back remains straight.
  3. Align Your Arms:
    • Put your forearms along your calves, maintaining the position.

Benefits of Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana:

  • Strengthens the Abdominals and Lower Back:
    • Engages and strengthens the core muscles and lower back.
  • Improves Flexibility:
    • Enhances flexibility in the hamstrings and spine.
  • Stimulates the Esophagus:
    • Promotes digestion and strengthens the esophagus.
  • Enhances Balance and Coordination:
    • Improves overall balance and coordination through the challenging nature of the pose.

Tips for Practicing Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana:

  • Enter from Boat Pose:
    • It may be easier to enter this pose from the boat pose (Navasana) for better balance and alignment.
  • Focus on Breath:
    • Maintain steady and deep breathing to help with balance and concentration.
  • Engage Your Core:
    • Keep your core engaged to support your lower back and maintain the straightness of your spine.
  • Use a Strap if Needed:
    • If you find it challenging to hold your toes, use a yoga strap around your feet to help maintain the pose.


  • Imagine Your Body as a Bow:
    • Visualize your body as a bow, with your hands and feet as the string being pulled taut. This will help you maintain the stretch and alignment.
  • Feel the Energy Flow:
    • As you hold the pose, feel the energy flow from your toes through your legs, up your spine, and out through the crown of your head.

Quotes to Inspire:

  • "Flexibility in the body leads to flexibility in the mind."
  • "Challenge your limits, but honor your body."


Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana is a powerful pose that challenges your strength, flexibility, and balance. With regular practice, you will not only improve your physical capabilities but also enhance your mental focus and resilience. Embrace this pose as a journey towards greater self-awareness and physical well-being.

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