Uttanasana is an important asana for legs flexibility. If you notice that your legs are stiff from too much sitting, practice this Standing forward bend.
Using the pull of gravity, this pose lengthens the muscles and ligaments of the entire posterior of your body – from heels to the middle of the back. It also prepares you for Triangle.
Uttanasana Benefits –
For Beginners –
1. Stand upright, with your legs together. Inhale and stretch your arms up alongside your ears.
2. Exhale and bend forwards from the hips so that you make a horizontal line with your arms and upper body.
3. Continue exhaling and bending forwards. Catch hold of your ankles or calves or hold onto your big toes in the Classical foothold.
4. Hold for up to 1 minute with slow rhythmical breathing. Continue with Step 5 or inhale and come back up, with your arms and head hanging, then return to standing.
For Intermediate and Advanced –
5. If you can hold your toes, come into the full pose by bringing your arms behind your knees and holding your elbows. With an exhalation, push your arms down along your calves.
6. Alternatively, for a greater stretch in the legs, slide the palms of your hands under your feet. Hold either position for up to 1 minute, with slow rhythmical breathing, then come back up as in Step
Uttanasana Benefits –
Physical Benefits –
- Strengthens the feet, knees,and thighs.
- Stretches the hamstrings and calves.
- Improves the function of digestive and reproductive systems.
- Opens the hips and groins.
- Stimulates the liver, kidneys, and digestive system.
- Relieves menopausal discomfort, headache, insomnia, and fatigue.
- Alleviates discomfort fromsinusitis.
Mental Benefits –
- Soothes the nervous system.
- Relieves stress, anxiety, and mild depression.
- The stimulation of the spine, the activated sense of balance, and the extra blood supply to the brain produced by this pose all bring relief from tamas, a state of low energy characterized by sluggishness, inertia, sleepiness, forgetfulness, and depression.
Contraindications and Cautions –
- Back injury (keep the knees bent).
- Low blood pressure.
- Pregnancy (widen stance and keep knees bent).