Ashtanga Yoga Tutorial: Primary Series seated posture, Pūrvottānāsana: Eastern Bend Stretch

Welcome back to Olotita’s Yoga Asana Series! Today is Video 23 of our Yoga Series and we look at the next posture in the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series, Pūrvottānāsana.

Tap Photo to access Youtube Video on Purvottanasana


This is an eastern bend stretch or backward facing stretch.  Up until this point in the practice most of what we have done, and will primarily continue to do throughout the primary series, is forward bending.  This is the first and only posture, until backbends at the end of primary series, that we take the body backward in space.  The pose also helps us open the chest, stretch the psoas, and engage the back of the body (lats and erectors and hamstrings and glutes).  Don’t worry though, we explore many opportunities to take the body backward in space when we reach the second, or intermediate series of the Ashtanga Yoga practice!

In video #22 of our Yoga Series we explored Daṇḍāsana, or Staff posture; and Paścimottānāsana or seated forward bend stretch posture. Now we do the opposite and take the body backwards to open the front of the body.  Pūrvottānāsana is a challenging asana for many people because of how we live.  Many of us spend our day sitting in an office chair, driving, bent over.  The front of the body is often short and tight (psoas and chest muscles).  Conversely, the back of the body is often long and weak.  On top of that, when you take your hands backward and open your chest, it can make the practitioner feel very vulnerable as there is no way to protect your heart.  It makes this posture challenging both physically and mentally.  So its important to take this posture in steps.  To work your way up to the full expression so you feel both physically capable and emotionally comfortable.


For those reasons, today we will explore two modifications or variations before we explore the full expression of this posture. I’ll demonstrate this posture in two modified forms so it is easier for newer students to begin to access these poses.  I’ll then demonstrate the asanas in their full or final expression. Thereupon, you can see where you wish to work to in terms of how the postures will look and feel when your body opens from your consistent practice efforts.

This yoga stuff is hard because you have to commit to it for yourself.  You have to show up and do the work.  And most importantly, you have to be consistent to see the results. Keep showing up to your mat.  Continue taking this time for self care, for wholeness practices that are here to help you live your best life.

Each tutorial video is here to help you go a little deeper in your understanding of the body mechanics of the movements, and your own body in space.

If you are brand new to yoga, you are at the right place!  And if you have an established practice, I will be sure to share a few tips that help you take your practice to the next level.

I hope you find this video series helpful to you in creating or maintaining your at home yoga practice!

Krista Shirley

Krista Shirley is a level II authorized Ashtanga Yoga teacher.  She owns The Yoga Shala in Winter Park, Florida, in the heart of central Florida.  Krista also owns Nysa product line of yoga tools and accessories.  She’s a supermom to an amazing son and she is very passionate about sharing yoga teachings with all who wish to learn.

If you want to join her in person she teach daily classes in Winter Park, Florida. Krista also offer virtual sessions in Yoga, Meditation, Breath-work, Nutrition, Life Coaching and Mentorship.  Check out for more details.

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The Foundation – Breathing, Bandhas, Drishti and Sun Salutation A

Introduction to Ashtanga Yoga Finishing Sequence

PRACTICE YOGA WITH KRISTA: Sun Salutation A & Modified Finishing Sequence

Sun Salutation B

PRACTICE Sun Salutation A & B and modified Finishing Sequence with Krista Shirley 

How to Hold Your Spine in Space 

Padangusthasana and Pada Hastasana 

Utthita Trikoṇāsana and Parivr̥tta Trikoṇāsana 

Utthita Pārśva Koṇāsana and Parivr̥tta Pārśva Koṇāsana

GUIDED PRACTICE: Sun Salutation A & B through Utthita Pārśva Koṇāsana and Parivr̥tta Pārśva Koṇāsana with Modified Finishing Sequence

Standing Postures – Prasārita Pādottānāsana A-D


GUIDED PRACTICE: Sun Salutation A & B through Prasarita Padottanasana A-D with Modified Finishing Sequence

Standing Postures – Parsvottanasana

Balancing Postures – Utthita Hasta Padāṅguṣṭhāsana

Balancing Postures – Ardha Baddha Padmottānāsana

PRACTICE: Sun Salutation A & B through Ardha Baddha Padmottānāsana with Modified Finishing Sequence



PRACTICE: Sun Salutation A & B through Vīrabhadrāsana  with Modified Finishing Sequence


Daṇḍāsana and Paścimottānāsana

Start A Yoga Practice at Home

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