Standing Forward bend

Yoga Poses

Standing Forward Bend Uttanasana

Steps

The Standing forward bend pose is a favourite pose that features in some of the most traditional Yoga sequences. This is not only an important pose in any style of sun salutation but also finds relevance in the Mysore style Ashtanga Vinyasa and the Sivananda Yoga series. This simple standing forward bend is a powerful pose as it a mild inversion where the head is below the heart, which allows for good blood circulation throughout the body. Although the pose looks easy with the torso folded over the pelvis, this pose is one of the best ‘work in progress’ poses for any practitioner. This means, that as we further into our Yoga practice we go deeper into the forward fold. Most importantly, this pose allows is for you to explore your breath more deeply and connect with the expanding of your lungs during inhalation with the contraction of the exhalation.

To practice the standing forward bend pose stand with both feet hip-width apart. It is important here to ensure that the feet are firmly grounded into the mat. Bring your awareness to the toes and feel them anchoring into the ground. Place your hands on your waist and take a deep inhale as you elongate your torso, extend forward and fold from the hip over your pelvis. Allow your spine to naturally curve as and release your hands from the waist to hold your ankle or calf muscle. Exhale as you further extend forward to bring your head closer to your legs while stretching the back and hamstrings.

Hold this posture for a few deep long breaths. To release this pose, unlock your hands from your ankle or calves. Bring your hands back to your waist, inhale to press into your feet and lengthen the torso to come out of the forward bend. Exhale as you stand up.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

The feet having roots sinking into the ground to find balance and stability during the forward fold. The body must be fully relaxed to feel the rhythm of the breath. Adding a count to deepen the breathing is a good way to get the mind to focus and also relax the body.

Technical Comments

While in Mountain Pose, ensure that the back is elongated with the shoulders and chest open. This prepares for the stretching the spine during the forward bend. While in the standing forward bend pose, ensure that the neck is relaxed and long. Beginners are advised to bend the knees to help the torso extend a little further toward the legs.

Benefit Comments

  • Stimulates internal organs such as kidney, liver and intestine
  • Massages the internal organs
  • Relives mild depression
  • Calms the nervous system
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves blood circulation throughout the body

Watch Out For:

  • Loss of balance while folding forward.
  • Stiff back and hamstrings
  • Folding forward from the back
  • Holding or tensing in the neck area

Contraindications

  • Back injury
  • Slip disc
  • Spinal cord injury or surgery
  • Knee injury
  • Sciatica

Modifications

  • Bend knees to fold a little deeper into the forward bend
  • Use the wall as support for balance
  • Use Yoga blocks as support for the hands instead of holding ankles or calves.

Variations

  • Half standing forward bend
  • Grip the between the big toes to fold forward
  • Clasp both elbows behind the calves as a lock
  • Place your feet on your palms facing up

Yoga Counter Poses

Written By: Adithi Mathews

Adithi Mathews is a 500 Hr CYT,yoga practitioner and writer living in Germany. More information can be found on www.adithimathews.com

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