How to Assume Reverse Prayer Pose in Yoga

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Whether you're an office worker who spends a lot of time hunched over a desk or you just tend to have tight chest and shoulder muscles, one way to relieve some of that tension is with the Reverse Prayer pose of yoga. The regular Prayer pose, or Namaste, is done with the palms flat and joined together near the heart center. The reverse, called Reverse Namaste or Pashchima Namaskarasana, is done with your hands behind your back. The pose will help to stretch the wrist flexors, biceps and chest, suggests the yoga website Do Yoga with Me. It's often done while seated, kneeling, or as part of the Intense Side Stretch pose.

  • Stand with your feet about hip distance apart.

  • Bend your knees slightly and bring your arms behind your back, with your fingers pointed downward. Allow your fingers to touch the fingers of the other hand.

  • Flip your fingertips -- still touching -- from their position pointed downward to a position pointed upward, moving the fingertips toward the spine. As you do that, slide your hands gently up your back, allowing the pinkie side of each hand to rest along your back. Keep your knees slightly bent throughout this motion.

  • Press your palms toward one another, aiming to hold your palms against one another. If you don't have that level of flexibility, press them together to your comfort level, also pressing the thumbs together as closely as you can.

  • Hold the pose for several inhalations and exhalations.

  • Slide your hands down your back again and gently allow the palms and thumbs to separate, and then separate the hands completely.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're unable to join your fingertips behind your back, you may not have an adequate level of flexibility just yet. To work on stretching the same area, place your hands behind your back with your forearms resting along the small of your back, and then grasp the undersides of each forearm with the opposite hand. Hold the pose for several inhalations and exhalations and then gently release.
  • As with all yoga poses, do not continue any poses that cause you pain. Instead, seek a pose that is not painful and allows you to breathe in and out comfortably, such as the forearm variation.

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  • Photo Credit Denisa - Carmen VOICU/iStock/Getty Images
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