Uttanasana (Intense Pose/Standing Forward Fold) | Yoga Fundamentals


Uttanasana (Intense Pose/Standing Forward Fold) is part of the Sun Salutation sequence. Uttanasana is a great stretch for the hamstrings, calves, and back muscles, and releasing tension in the neck. It also lengthens the spine, relieves stress, and stimulates the digestive, nervous, and endocrine systems.


How to:

  1. From Urdhva Hastasana (Raised Hands Pose), exhale and dive forward, hinging from the hips while maintaining a flat back.

  2. Bend knees and release hands outside of feet. Place hands flat against the mat.

  3. Let the head hang heavy, release the neck, and gaze at thighs or navel.

  4. Activate quads and avoid locking the knees.

  5. Press hips up towards the sky to get a deeper stretch in the hamstrings.

  6. Breathe deeply for a count of 4-8 breaths. Activate abdominal muscles on inhalations.

  7. To exit the pose: bend knees and activate the core muscles, maintain a flat back, and inhale to an upright standing position - Samasthiti (Equal Standing).

Avoid

  • Locking knees when diving forward

Modifications/Variations:

  • Bend knees if your hamstrings are tight

  • Place hands on shins or thighs instead of the ground

  • Grab opposite elbows and gently sway side to side for ragdoll pose

Contraindications:

  • Recent or chronic injuries to the hips, legs, back, or shoulders

  • Injury to the lower back

  • Sensitivities to changes in high pressure such as glaucoma

Muscles Worked:

  • Lower Back

  • Upper Back

  • Hamstrings

  • Hips

  • Neck

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