Reverse Table Top

Ardha Purvottanasana

Pronunciation: (ARE-dah - PUR-voh-tun-AHS-anna)

Level: Beginner


1. From a seated position in Easy or Staff pose, bend the knees bringing the feet flat on the floor hip width apart. Keep the arms behind your hips with the fingers pointed towards your feet.

2. Lean back into the arms and slowly inhale and lift the hips up towards the ceiling. Make sure the toes and knees are pointing straight ahead. Look straight ahead, up at the ceiling or carefully drop the head back.

3. Press into the feet, squeezing the thighs and buttocks and engaging Mula Bandha to lift the hips high. Press into the hands and draw the shoulder blades towards each other to lift up high through the sternum. 

4. Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.

5. To release: slowly exhale the hips back down to the floor.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Reverse tabletop pose, sometimes called crab pose, opens the chest and tones the low back to stimulate the respiratory and endocrine systems. Reverse tabletop pose also builds arm, leg and core body strength.

Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the knees, hips, arms, back or shoulders.

Modifications + Variations

Modifications: If there is pain or discomfort in the wrists, point the fingers in the opposite direction or make fists with the hands.

Variations: Inhale one leg up towards the ceiling at a time, pressing out through the heel.


Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Staff pose, Easy pose, Up Boat.

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose: Seated Forward Bend, Prayer Squat, Bound Angle, Cow Face, Seated Angle.

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Comments 2

  1. For crab pose, I think you mean “fingers pointed TOWARDS the body or towards feet”…. I believe this was an oversight when typing out the posture! :)

    1. Timothy Burgin Post

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