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Reverse Table Top: an easy chest opener

Reverse table top – Ardha Purvottanasana

Reverse table top – Ardha Purvottanasana is one of the easiest poses to do. At the same time it’s a good chest opener. I like heavy yoga sequences with a lot of planks and chaturanga dandasanas in it, but that means I’m strengthening my pectoral (chest) muscles a lot. Nothing wrong with that as long as I counter balance it with some chest openers. Reverse table top – Ardha Purvottanasana is one I like to put in my series every now and then.

There is a second reason I like to use reverse table top – Ardha Purvottanasana in my sequences. In AcroYoga I use this pose  a lot as well. Mainly when people are new to poses like high star or other shoulder stand variations. Revese table top is a good, safe way to practice them.

Bunk bed: double reverse table top

Another fun way to use table top is in children’s yoga, where I like to do reverse table top on reverse table top. I learned this from my friend Esther Hertog, an amazing AcroYoga teacher who specializes in parents and kids AcroYoga. She calls this variation ‘bunk bed’.

There are two ways you can practice reverse table top – Ardha Purvottanasana. One is with your fingers pointing towards the heels of your feet. The other option is to have your fingers the opposite way: pointing away from your feet. Personally the first variation is easier for me and I feel stronger when I’m practicing it. The second variation – because of the outward rotation of my arm – gives me a bigger chest opener. Up to you which arm variation you prefer.

Getting into reverse table top – Ardha Purvottanasana

  • Start in dandasana: sitting on the floor with your legs straight in front of you
  • Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet hip width apart, close to your buttocks
  • Place your hands next to your hips with your palms flat on the floor. Fingers can be pointing towards or away from your toes. Make sure your hands are under your shoulders
  • Lift your pelvis from the floor; bringing your upper body and thighs parallel to the floor
  • You can let your head fall back if you want. Keep a little muscle control and don’t just drop it
  • Stay in the pose for half a minute or more. Lower down on an exhalation

Benefits of reverse table top – Ardha Purvottanasana

  • Strengthens wrists and ankles
  • Opens chest and shoulders
  • Strengthens core muscles
  • Enhances the mobility of the shoulder joint
  • Rejuvenates after a lot of forward folds
Light on Yoga - BKS Iyengar 
Key muscles of Yoga – Ray Long 
Ashtanga – David Swenson 
Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha – Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Want more? Check out my library of yoga poses or do them with me on YouTube.

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