Standing Forward Bend // Uttanasana
ut = intense
tan = to stretch or extend
Folding forward isn’t something we do everyday. And, in fact, most of us don’t do this even weekly. We all suffer from tight hamstrings and lower back pain from our daily jobs. Taking time to be upside down by doing an inversion (bringing your head below your heart) is great for circulation and digestion. I recommend folding forward every morning while waiting for your coffee or tea to brew.
The important concept to bear in mind in any forward fold is knowing when to accept intensity and when to be content with where you are. Our ego wants us to push for more — to be more flexible. But instead of struggling, use the posture to practice contentment and accept your capacity for where you are.
Step 1: Standing in tadasana, mountain pose. As you exhale, fold forward hinging from your hips. Allow your arms to dangle freely.
Step 2: Have a slight bend in your knees and take a deep breath. Shake your head left and right to release any tension in your neck.
Step 3: If you are moderately flexible, try to grip the back of your ankles and bring your head to touch your knees. If you can touch the ground, then grab for opposite elbows as you sway from left to right. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Calms the mind and helps relieve stress
Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips
Strengthens the thighs and knees
Elongates the spine
Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
Reduces fatigue and anxiety
Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, infertility, osteoporosis, and sinusitis