Yogasana – Uttanasana and its benefits
Uttanasana is a forward bending pose which relaxes us from stress and anxiety. And with the arm bind, this standing forward bend variation provides a deep shoulder stretch. By binding the hands, it also allows the arms to stretch and tighten the shoulders to relax. It also brings some blood back to the brain while giving a great stretch to the legs.
How to Perform:
step 1: Stand with your feet with shoulder distance apart and parallel to each other.
step 2: Press your feet down in to the floor and ground yourself strongly.
step 3: Now exhale and gently bend down from the hips (not the waist) and place your chest and stomach on your thighs.
step 4: If you are beginner you may have to bend your knees slightly to accomplish this.
step 5: If your knees are bent, ensure that they are straight over your toes and not opening out inwards or outwards.
step 6: Slowly start to straighten out your legs but make sure that your chest and stomach never leave your thighs.
step 7: Lift your hips as you straighten through your hamstring muscles all the while pressing your heels into the floor.
step 8: Once you feel stable, cross your forearms, grab your elbows and hang your head down.
Step 9: If you are flexible, you could try to bring your palms to the floor or hold your heels from behind.
step 10: Begin by holding this pose for 30 seconds and gradually work your way to one minute at a time.
Step 11:As you hold the pose, gently inhale and exhale. As you inhale, lift and lengthen your torso and with every exhalation, try to go deeper and deeper into the stretch.
step 12: Another way to extend the stretch is to roll on to the balls of your feet and lean slightly forward. This stretches the backs of your legs and allows you to hold the pose for longer.
step 13: Do not close your eyes during this pose and you will lose your balance.
step 14:To release the pose, place your hands back on to your hips and with a deep inhale breath, extend your back and come up to standing pose.
If you suffer from any type of back injury, try this pose with your knees bent
You can also try the Ardha Uttanasana instead of the Uttanasana if you suffer from chronic back pain
Avoid this pose completely if you have recently had back surgery, knee surgery or surgery to your hamstrings
Do not do this pose if there has been recent injury to your legs, hips, and shoulders.