Yoga Poses

Standing Forward Bend II Uttanasana

Steps

Stand in Tadasana with the feet parallel, shoulders back and tailbone slightly tucked, knees soft. Inhale, and reach the arms overhead to lengthen the spine. Exhale, hinging at the hip joints, keeping the back straight and arms extended, folding forward, pulling the naval towards the spine to bring the chest towards the thighs and the hands to the mat. Let your head relax towards the floor, keeping the shoulder engaged and away from the ears. Continue to focus on the breath letting the exhales bring the naval closer to the spine to allow the forward fold to deepen. To come out of the pose, bring the hands to the hip crease, roll the shoulders back and slowly come up with a straight back.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

As you bend into the pose, imagine your sit bones are moving towards the sky, and the crown of your head is making a straight line towards the earth.

Technical Comments

  • Be sure the feet are grounded by pressing the four corners of the feet into the mat.
  • Keep the spine straight by hinging at the hips and not rounding at the waist.

Benefit Comments

  • Strengthens the legs and feet.
  • Stretches the hamstrings.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Opens the hips.
  • Relieves stress and anxiety.

Watch Out For:

  • Curved chest and arm arching towards the floor.
  • Hyperextended legs.
  • Lifted back foot.

Contraindications

  • Back injury.
  • Pregnancy (Or do with proper modifications).

Modifications

  • Use a block under each hand to give support to reaching the floor and to maintain a straight spine.
  • Bend the knees if the hamstrings are tight.
  • For pregnancy, tight hamstrings or calves, place the hands on a wall or a chair with a wide stance and bent knees to fold to about 90 degrees.
  • If there is any weakness, stay seated in a chair with the feet hip distance apart.
  • For balance assistance, press the hips against a wall, with heels about six inches forward.

Variations

For a deeper stretch, try one of the following:

  • Place the hands, palms up under the feet, extend the elbow to the side.
  • Clasp the wrists or elbows behind the calves.
  • Clasp the hands behind the lower back and extend them away from the back, towards the head.

Yoga Counter Poses

Tadasana (Mountain pose)

Written By: Julie Phillips-Turner, RYT

Julie Teaches many types of yoga around the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland. Her specialties include SUP & Yoga, Yoga for seniors, and developing healing yoga programs for cancer survivors and hospice bereavement programs. You can find her online at www.chesapeakeyoga.com.

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