The stretch which your body experience while being in Uttanasana is intense and hence the name Intense Forward Bend. Uttanasana is practiced twice in Surya Namaskar series at the 2nd and 11th position. It is one of the most appropriate yoga poses for beginners to start with. Uttanasana offers great health benefits and adds more flexibility to the body.
Most commonly known as Standing Forward Bend, Uttanasana falls into the category of inverted yoga postures. The blood circulation in the upper body is increased during the practice. The brain benefits the most due to that. For that reason, Uttanasana can effectively fight depression and anxiety. Therefore, it is also a good posture for those who are bound to follow a hectic schedule in their everyday life.
The Sanskrit name Uttanasana is derived from 3 words. Let’s break down the meaning of each word.
Ut = Intense or deep
Tan = To stretch or extend
Asana = Posture
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) Steps
Starting Position: Tadasana (Mountain Pose), stand straight with legs and feet together, erect spine, chest slightly lifted and hands to the side of the body.
- Relax the body in Mountain Pose taking a few deep breaths.
- Exhale and move your torso forward from the hips, not the waist.
- Continue to bend till your hands touch your feet. Take a few breaths.
- Stretch your hips and bend further (without straining the body).
- Place the palm of your hands by the side of your feet.
- Bring your forehead to your knees. Close your eyes and relax the body.
- Take deep and slow breaths. Hold the position for a few seconds.
- As you retain the pose, gently try to stretch the spine further.
Practice 3 times for a few seconds initially up to a minute later on. Gradually hold the pose longer as your flexibility goes high day by day.
Release the pose
To move out of the posture. Inhale and lift the palms off the ground. Slowly straighten your body keeping the neck down. At last, straighten the head. Take 3 deep and slow breaths and relax the body to practice again.
- Practice Uttanasana before or after a backward bending pose such as Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Kandharasana (Bridge Pose) or Matsyasana (Fish Pose).
- Keep the knees and legs straight throughout the practice. If you can’t place the palms on the floor, grab a hold of your ankles or calves.
- You might not be able to notice a lot of things during your practice that an instructor can easily point out. That’s why it is best to practice in the presence of a well-versed yoga instructor.
- Don’t overstretch the body as that may lead to strain or injury. Practice according to your own potential. Every pose can be mastered with consistency, patience and hard work.
Precautions for Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
If you suffer from any of this condition avoid practicing Uttanasana: spine injury, pain in ankles or hip joints, knee problems, sciatica, heart problems, severe back pain or an abdominal hernia.
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) Benefits
- Relieve stomach pain and aids digestion.
- Increase the strength and flexibility of the spine.
- Stimulates the functioning of kidney, liver and spleen.
- Reduces menstrual cramps during menstruation.
- Tones and revitalize spinal nerves.
- Effectively removes depression, stress and anxiety.
- Calms the brain and soothes brain cells.
- Enhance blood circulation in the body, especially in the brain.
- Stretches the hips, muscles of legs and hamstrings.
- Prevents or cures infertility, osteoporosis and sinusitis.
Stay healthy stay strong and get the best out of life.
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