Uttanasana – Meaning, Steps, Benefits & Precautions
Uttanasana, also called the Standing Forward Bend Pose, is derived from three Sanskrit words viz. Ut (meaning intense), Tan (meaning stretch), and Asana (meaning posture). The stretch which can be experienced in the final pose of Uttanasana is too intense and hence the name of the pose – ‘Intense Forward Bend’. Further, in the final pose, your head is at a lower level than your heart, which enables the supply of fresh blood to the head, benefitting the brain and other important organs in the region. This makes Uttanasana a great pose for people suffering from anxiety and depression.
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) Steps
- Spread a Yoga Mat and stand straight on it with your arms resting by the sides on your thighs.
- Take a few deep breaths.
- Exhale and bend your torso forward from the hips, and not from the waist.
- Think and feel of creating as much length possible from your hips to your head.
- Release your fingertips towards the ground.
- If you are unable to touch the ground with your hands, you can cross your forearms and hold your elbows until you start attaining the flexibility.
- If you are flexible enough, try to grip the back of your ankles and bring your head to touch your knees.
- Release the back of your head and the neck and keep on breathing through the nostrils, gently and normally, in the final pose.
- Beginners may hold the position for about 10 seconds. Intermediate and advanced practitioners may stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute in Uttanasana final pose.
- Inhale and come back up to the starting position and exhale to relax.
- Uttanasana stretches your hips, hamstrings, and calves and at the same time provides strength to your thighs and knees.
- Its regular practice relieves the stiffness of your spine, back, and the neck.
- In the final pose of this Standing Forward Bend, the stretch so provided to your spinal vertebra increases blood circulation around the spinal cord, nourishing the nerves, which further make your spine strong and flexible.
- This asana elongates the spine properly.
- By allowing the direct supply of fresh blood into the brain, this asana relieves anxiety and depression and thus rejuvenates the mind.
- This standing forward bend pose massages and stimulates all your abdominal organs.
- This asana is very good for digestion.
- Uttanasana improves posture and improves balance and coordination in the body.
- It removes mucus from the lungs.
- Uttanasana promotes sound sleep.
- This asana is can play a great role in treating symptoms of several ailments including asthma, headaches, insomnia and even menopause.
- It can be very helpful in the treatment of osteoporosis, sinusitis, and infertility.
Avoid practicing Uttanasana, if you have any of these Conditions –
- Back, Spine or disc-related problems
- Any heart-related problems
- Abdominal Hernia
- A history of any injury in your knee joints or ankle joints
- Any Hamstring or ankle Injury
- High Blood Pressure
Uttanasana For Beginners (Tips)
- You can use blocks to place your hands on blocks if the ground seems far away.
- You can also practice Uttanasana with your knees bent (to start with) if your back is uncomfortable in this shape.
Practice Tips For Uttanasana
- Keep the knees and legs straight throughout the practice. If you can’t place the palms on the floor, you can cross your forearms and hold your elbows until you start attaining the flexibility.
- Uttanasana is a forward bend and hence it is best to practice it before or after a backward bending pose like –
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
- Kandharasana (Shoulder Pose)
- Ustrasana (Camel Pose)