(Uttanasana): Techniques, Benefits, Variations

Level – Beginner

Standing Forward Fold

(Uttanasana)

Easy Pose Prep & Practice

1

Beginning in Mountain pose (Tadasana) at the top of the mat.  On an inhalation, arms sweep slightly forward and up, fingers reaching toward the ceiling, coming into Extended Standing Pose (Urdhva Hastasana). Exhale fold forward, hinging from the hips, hands or fingertips on mat or hands on blocks. 

2

Heels root, calves widen and knee caps lift (leg muscles engaged).  Hips in line with knees and ankles. 

3

Hips firm in and back slightly, keeping outer hips engaged, hip bones point down.  Abdominals hug, drawing chest toward thighs.

4

Shoulders draw down the back and away from the ears as the crown of head releases toward the floor, gaze is toward the shins. 

5

Breath is steady, legs and abdominals engaged, shoulders continue to draw away from the ears as torso and head continue to release toward the floor.

6

To come out of the pose, on an inhalation mindfully rise back up to Extended Standing Pose (Urdhva Hastasana) and exhale to Mountain (Tadasana).

Variations/Modifications

  • Bend the knees
  • Practice Half Standing Forward Fold (Ardha Uttanasana)
  • Take feet wider apart
  • Hold onto opposite elbows

Physical, Mental and Emotional Benefits

  • Stretches hamstrings lower back and spinal extensors
  • Mild inversion – can reduce blood pressure and soothe headaches
  • Tones abdominal muscles and organs
  • Calms the mind and soothes the nerves
  • Cooling and grounding

Contraindications

  • Hamstring Injury
  • Herniated Disc or Back Injury
  • Acid Reflux
  • Very Low Blood Pressure 

Thoughtful Sequencing

Mountain (Tadasana)Extended Standing Pose (Urdhva Hastasana), Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana), Half Standing Forward Fold (Ardha Uttanasana), Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana), Extended Standing Pose (Urdhva Hastasana), Mountain Pose (Tadasana).

Want more yoga pose tutorials? See more in my Yoga Pose Directory.

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