Upward Couch Yoga Pose
overview

Upward Couch Yoga Pose is a reclined, backbend pose that targets the shoulders and quads and is ideal for yogis and yoginis at an intermediate level.

muladhara – the root chakra
related poses
How To Do Upward Couch Yoga Pose
  1. Begin in Corpse Pose (Savasana), knees bent and soles of the feet flat on the floor. Walk the feet in as close to the sitting bones as possible.
  2. Inhale and lift the pelvis and chest upward, drawing your buttocks and back off of the floor. Keep your shoulders, arms, neck, head and feet grounded, being sure not to draw the shoulders up, crowding the neck and ears.
  3. Lift your heels off of the ground and come the balls and toes of the feet. Walk the feet further in, bringing them just under the tailbone. Lower your pelvis to rest on your heels.
  4. Place your hands on either side of your head, just above the shoulders. Push into your hands to lift the shoulders off of the mat, gently rolling to the crown of the head. Be sure not to slouch onto the shoulders, which will put stress on the neck and head.
  5. Keep your hands here if you feel you’ll be unstable otherwise, or cross the arms above the head with the forearms parallel and on the mat, hands holding the elbows of the opposite arm. You may also bring the hands to the sternum in a prayer position.
  6. Open up slightly at the knees and begin drawing them as close to the floor as possible. If your quads are flexible enough, bring the knees all the way to the floor.
  7. Hold this position for several breaths, 30-60 seconds if possible. To come out, lift the knees off of the mat and lower the shoulders back to the floor. Lift the pelvis off of your heels, walking the feet back out and bringing your back and buttocks to the floor. Rest in Corpse Pose for a few breaths.
Notes
  • Breathe deeply through each step.
  • This pose requires flexibility in the quadriceps.
  • Be sure to keep space around the neck and ears and not sink the shoulders when you lift off the floor, which can lead to neck strain and possibly injury.
  • Avoid this pose during heavy menstruation.
  • Avoid this pose if you have ankle, knee, neck or spinal injury. If you have an ankle injury, you can perform a variation of this pose detailed below.
Tips

For a less advanced version of this pose, begin in the Reclining Hero Pose (Supta Virasana). From here, bring the hands to the sides of the head and lift up the shoulders off of the mat, coming to the head. The pose will be the same for the upper body, but the buttocks will be grounded with your feet on either side. Keep the shins and knees on the floor.
Try placing a folded blanket under your head for comfort when you transfer your weight onto the crown.

Stretches & Strengthens

All Muscles: Shoulders, quads, neck, lower back

Target Muscles: Shoulders, quads

Health Benefits of Upward Couch Yoga Pose
  • Increases blood flow to the brain.
  • Can relieve tired or restless legs.
  • Can relieve menstrual pain.
  • May improve digestion.
  • Relieves physical and mental stress.

Sanskrit Name & Meaning

Sanskrit Name & Meaning

Urdhva Paryankasana

(OORD-vah par-yahn-kAHS-anna)

urdhva: upright, erect, elevated
paryanka: sofa, couch, bed
asana: posture

History & Mythology

History & Mythology

There’s gotta be some history or mythology on this pose! We’ve looked high and low and have only come up with this message. Perhaps you have some information or resource for us to explore?