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Yoga Postures

> Uttanasana

Common name: Standing forward fold

Sanskrit: Uttanasana

English: uttana=intense stretch; asana=pose

Level: Beginner
Photo Credit:
Left and right: Denise Balioz


  • Start in standing with feet hip distance apart and hands on hip. Create a firm foundation in the feet and engage the core. Draw the shoulder blades down the back and lengthen the spine from pelvis to the crown of the head. Gaze is forward, chin parallel to the floor.
  • On an exhale, soften the knees and bend forward from the hips, until the spine is parallel to the floor. Inhale and lengthen the spine.
  • On the next exhale continue to fold forward, keeping the knees soft and the sit bones lifting. Allow the hands (palms or perhaps just finger tips) to come to the ground, touching the mat beside or a little in front the feet.
  • Straighten the legs, without locking out the knees. The hands may rise from the floor and can rest on the shins, or a block. Allow the head to hang in neutral.
  • The gaze is down, traditionally directed to the tip of the nose.
  • Work on extending the front body on and inhale and using the exhale drawing back the navel and abdomen, creating space for the fold. lengthen and lifting the chest through the arms, while engaging the core muscles, drawing the navel towards the spine and avoiding flaring the ribs out.
  • Maintain the pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
  • To come out of the pose, bend the knees and return the hands to the hips. Engage the core muscles and lift to half fold. Pause for a moment, to allow the body to adjust and then return to standing.
  • Work towards a deeper fold. Initially explore keeping the knees slightly bent, and/or using a block for the hands.
  • Benefits

  • Stretches hamstrings and calf muscles
  • Massages abdomen and digestive tract
  • Stimulates the kidneys and the liver
  • Calming and stress relieving
  • Helpful for asthma and sinusitis
  • Contraindications and Cautions

  • Back injury (adapt using half fold or keeping knees bent
  • Congestion or a sinusitis flair-up – work in seated forward fold
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