In Sanskrit, “ut” means intense, “tan” means to stretch or extend and “asana” means pose. In English, we call this pose the Standing Forward Bend. But in any language, this incredibly beneficial posture is both therapeutic and revitalizing. In Uttanasana, your head is below your heart. This allows the unusual occasion for blood to rush to your head (rather than your feet), giving your cells a rejuvenating boost of oxygen.
To practice Uttanasana with a licensed yoga practitioner, check out our yoga class schedule for each branch of CNY Healing Arts: located in Syracuse, Rochester, and Albany.
Getting Into Standing Forward Bend Pose:
Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Rest your hands on your hips, exhale, and bend forward from the hip joints rather than the waist. Draw your belly slightly in and focus on lengthening your front torso as you go deeper in Uttanasana.
Keeping your knees straight, place your fingertips or palms on the floor beside your feet, or touch the back of your ankles with your palms. To modify this movement, cross your forearms and hold your elbows.
To help tone your thighs, press your heels into the floor, lift your sit bones toward the sky, and turn the tops of your thighs slightly inward. Let your head hang loose, releasing all tension in your back and shoulder blades.
Try lengthening the front torso a little bit more on each inhale. On each exhale, release fully into the bend. Stay in this posture for 30 seconds to 1 minute. To come out of Uttanasana, bring your hands back to your hips and rotate at the hip joints until you stand strong and tall. Do not simply roll your spine up.
Benefits of Standing Forward Bend Pose:
- Stretches the hips, hamstrings, and calves
- Strengthens the thighs and knees
- Keeps your spine strong and flexible
- Reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue
- Calms the mind and soothes the nerves
- Relieves tension in the spine, neck, and back
- Activates the abdominal muscles
- Eases symptoms of menopause, asthma, headaches, and insomnia
- Stimulates the kidneys, liver, spleen
- Improves digestion
- May lower high blood pressure
- Therapeutic for infertility, osteoporosis, and sinusitis