Standing Forward Bend – Uttanasana

Etymology

Ut =  Intense ; Tan = To extend/stretch

This Asana (= pose) is part of the traditional Sun Saluations.

Benefits

Uttanasana allows the spine, hamstrings, calves and thighs to strecht. It also strengthens the spine/thighs, relieves the stress and improves the digestion.

Instructions

  • Begin in Tadasana;
  • Inhale, strecht your arms over your head;
  • Exhale, lower your torso down from your hips. While lowering down, keep your back flat and hollow your belly in. Keep lengthening your spine;
  •  Hands (palms or finger tips) touching the floor;
  • With each exhalation, pull your sitting bones up to the ceiling and keep lengthening your spine for a deeper strecht;
  • Inhale, lift your head and torso half way up. Your back should be flat. Finger tips touching the floor;
  • Look forward and slightly oscillate your buttocks up in the air to elongate your spine.

Variation for beginners

If your hamstrings are tight, slightly bend the knees to allow your spine to release. After the spine has released, you may extend your legs so that you can further lengthen your back. While doing this, keep your legs and abdomen active. If your hands cannot touch the floor, you may bend your forearms and hold your opposite elbows.