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Uttanasana Yoga Pose : Uses, Benefits and Steps to do Standing Forward Bend
It is a well documented fact that life can indeed prove to be very stressful. As a result of it, we tend to invite a lot of stress, anxiety and depression into our life. These feelings are unwelcome, to speak modestly of them. But, there is indeed a way in which you can keep these feelings at bay, and that is practising the Uttanasana Hatha Yoga pose. This pose can prove to be a great help to you as it helps you alleviate such feelings and the physiological responses that they trigger to a great extent. What’s special about this pose is that it is extremely simple.
If you relate to whatever has been said thus far and would like to live a better quality of life, or, if you are just curious about the Uttanasana pose in general, this article is probably for you. Read on to learn more.
What is Uttanasana Standing forward bend pose
The Uttanasana pose is one of the simplest Hatha Yoga poses that one can practise, irrespective of the practitioner’s level of proficiency in the field of Yoga. The term, which translates to “Intense stretching pose”, requires the yogi to bend forward and touch the ground with their palms, which should be as close as possible to their feet. After achieving the full motion, the practitioner should be able to engage some of the largest muscle groups in their body.
But, one must not develop the opinion that Uttanasana Standing forward bend pose is about how effortlessly the yogi is able to achieve the position. Instead, one must be mindful of the degree of engagement that it facilitates in the muscle groups that it is supposed to target.
With that being said, being able to do the position as prescribed will open the doors for a much healthier mind and a better quality of life, to speak of them in the most surface level manner. Let us now take a look at the way in which this pose must be performed.
How To Do Uttanasana Standing forward bend pose
In terms of movement and the targeted muscle groups, the Uttanasana shares a great deal of similarities with the Tadasana pose, which means that it is a fairly simple Yoga asana to execute. But, some key differences certainly exist. The steps to perform the Uttanasana are as follows:
Uttanasana Step 1: Start in the Tadasana pose, which means that you need to stand on your feet that are hip-width-distance apart.
Uttanasana Step 2: Make sure that you have firmly planted on the ground with most of your body weight resting on the balls of your feet rather than your heels.
Uttanasana Step 3: Just like in the case of Tadasana, bring your hands and arms above your head with the palms facing each other.
Uttanasana Step 4: lengthen your body like how you would do in the case of Tadasana and slowly begin the motion of mending forward. Make sure that you are doing the same with your hips and your back is in a flat position at all times. Note: You can also swan dive, which is the act of bringing your arms to your sides and then gracefully folding forward.
Uttanasana Step 5: Help your fingertips to the floor. Post that, continue the practice of lengthening your body through your spine. Additionally, keep your head lifted and make sure that your shoulder blades are arching back and down as you make contact with the floor through your fingertips. If it is at all possible, try bringing your palms to the mat as well in order to maximise the extent of your stretch.
Uttanasana Step 6: Release through the head and then take a deep breath. While doing so, consciously alleviate all of the tension that has built up in your head and neck. Then, allow for your head to hang while holding on to the fold.
Uttanasana Step 7: Engage in active breathwork during the process. Additionally, breathe deeply and rotate your inner hips open, pointing your tailbone towards the sky. Keep taking deep inhalations with your nose and making exhalations through the mouth in order to release stagnant energy. Stay in this position for up to 2 minutes for best results.
Uttanasana Step 8: Begin the process of rising slowly while taking a deep inhalation simultaneously. Focus on coming out of the pose vertebrae-by-vertebrae, with your head being the last to rise.
Uttanasana Step 9: Retreat to the mountain pose and then take a momentary pause.
What Are The Benefits Of Uttanasana Standing forward bend pose
As implied before, there are a multitude of benefits that one can reap from this asana. Some of them are as follows:
Uttanasana can help you relax: The Uttanasana helps the yogi to deactivate the stress response of your body while simultaneously activating its relaxation response, which are respectively governed by your sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system.
Uttanasana helps you regulate blood pressure: Uttanasana is the perfect Yoga asana for those who would like to get a handle on their blood pressure, given the kind of nervous systems it activates and disengages simultaneously.
Uttanasana frees your body: Given that the Uttanasana pose helps the yogi to get rid of the rigidity in their body to an extent, it allows for the body to move more effortlessly and without minimal pain throughout the day. This particular perk can come in handy for people who have field-based jobs.
Uttanasana helps you silence your anxious thoughts: Anxiety is a fairly common emotion amongst sentient beings, but it is only healthy to an extent. After a point, anxiety can prove to be debilitating for the individual. This is exactly the kind of situation that the Uttanasana pose can rescue an individual from, given that it regulates blood pressure and curbs the flow of stress hormones.
Uttanasana can help you fight mild depression as well: Anxiety and depression are the two negative feelings that often come together, which is a far from ideal state for any individual. But, given the kind of chemical responses the Uttanasana triggers, the yogi should be able to keep a good amount of such crippling feelings and thoughts at bay, allowing for a significantly improved quality of life.
When To Practise Uttanasana Standing forward bend pose
Just like the Tadasana, the Uttanasana is essentially a warm-up pose, which means that it can be performed at any given point of time in a day either in isolation or as a part of a yoga session routine. Irrespective of the scenario, the Yogi must ensure that they have not eaten anything for at least 4-6 hours prior. It is also recommended that the practitioner must maintain an empty bladder to avoid unexpected mid-session breaks.
Uttanasana should be avoided by those individuals who are recovering from any kind of ligament or knee injury, whether with the help of a surgery or otherwise. Additionally, people who lack the awareness of their breath should also stay away from this pose. Additionally, although a simple pose, the Uttanasana does require the yogi to have a certain degree of flexibility in their body from boot, hence the individuals lacking the same must consult their yoga teacher prior to attempting the pose.
Anatomy of Uttanasana
While going from the tadasana to the Uttanasana pose, the Yogi ends up engaging his/her back, hamstrings, shoulder blades and spine, given that the back has to be in a flat position at all times. Not to mention that the abdominal muscles will also feel a sense of engagement as well. The yogi will also feel a certain amount of pressure around the knee area. However, while retracting to the Tadasana pose, the yogi will feel a gradual dissipation of all the stress and stored kinetic energy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Uttanasana
Why is it called Uttanasana?
The word Uttanasana can be broken down as follows in order for us to understand the rationale behind giving this pose this specific name.
Uttana: Intense Stretch
The name implies that this particular pose requires the yogi to stretch some of their vital muscle groups in an extreme fashion over time in order to reap the best results.
What are the techniques of Uttanasana?
Some of the alternative techniques and modification of Uttanasana are as follows:
Downward facing dog that transforms into the Uttanasana pose, which sees the practitioner go from the half down dog motion to Uttanasana with the help of a jump.
Ragdoll technique, which is the standard Uttanasana pose, except the hands are clasped in opposite directions above the head.
Ardha Uttanasana, or getting to the halfway point of the full Uttanasana motion.
Back to the wall Uttanasana, which is essentially the Uttanasana pose with your back touching the wall after achieving full motion for support, and
Rear end to the wall Uttanasana, which is the act of performing the Uttanasana pose with your rear end against the wall for support purposes.
How do I get better at Uttanasana?
Very simply put, the yogi needs to practise Uttanasana regularly in order to come close to perfecting it over time. The yogi will know that he/she is getting better at the same if they are able to hold on to the main part of the pose for a longer period of time. Additionally, you can always come back to BalanceGurus and revise the technique of the pose with the help of our step-by-step guide.