What is Uttanasana Yoga Mean?
Uttanasana is a standing forward fold, which is considered very well for relieving stress and soothing the nervous system. It forms part of the Surya Namaskar sequences. Its name comes from the Sanskrit uttana, which means “intense stretch” and asana, which means “a seat” or “posture.” The Western name for Uttanasana is standing forward bend or standing forward fold.
It is closely related to the posture padahastasana, or “hands to feet pose,” with the difference usually seen in the hand positioning. In full Uttanasana, the hands tend to come to the back of the ankles, while in padahastasana they are under the feet, although this does depend on which variation is being performed.
Uttanasana is considered an important posture because, in addition to the physical stretching and strengthening benefits, it is believed to be balancing for the body. This is due to the combined elements of activity and passivity in the body once it is folded into the pose. Like all forward bends, Uttanasana is believed to be calming for the mind. It is a posture of surrender and, as such, may teach one patience and acceptance. Furthermore, the increased blood flow to the brain and the inverted nature of the posture, with the heart above the head, is said to relieve stress.
Important Tips: What You Should Know Before You Do the Uttanasana
You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this asana. Have your meals at least four to six hours before you do the asana so that your food gets digested and there is enough energy for you to expand during the practice. It is best to practice yoga first thing in the morning. But in the event you cannot work out in the morning, it is alright to practice it in the evening.
- Level: Intermediate
- Style: Hatha Yoga
- Duration: 15 to 30 seconds
- Repetition: None
- Stretches: Hips, Hamstrings, Calves
- Strengthens: Knees, Thighs
How to Do the Uttanasana
- Stand straight on your mat, and rest your hands on your hips. Inhale.
- Exhale and gently soften your knees and bend forward, folding from your hips. You need to counterbalance the weight of your body. To do this, you must move your hips and tailbone slightly back as the rest of your body moves forward.
- Remember to keep your knees soft as you do all of this. This will allow your buttocks to point up and your hips to move forward into the upper thighs.
- Let your hands rest on the ground, next to your feet. Your feet must be parallel to each other, and your second and middle toes must point forward. Let your chest float over your feet. Widen the space between your chest bone and pubis. Feel the fold and the stretch from your hip bone. If you feel it from the rounding of your lower back, you are doing something wrong.
- You must feel a stretch in your hamstrings as well, and if you are not yet feeling it, extend your knees a little more.
- Turn your thighs inward, and root yourself into your heels. This will allow better alignment.
- Your head must be left to dangle, such that the crown reaches the floor. Look through your legs, and hold the pose.
- When you wish to release the pose, contract the core and the abdomen muscles. Inhale and place your hand on the hips. Rise slowly, ensuring there is an elongation in your back. Let there be a distance between your pubis and your chest bone. Slowly stand up.
Benefits of Uttanasana
- This asana gives your back, hips, calves, and hamstrings a good stretch.
- It calms your mind and relieves anxiety. It also helps quiet the mind.
- It helps relieve headaches and insomnia.
- This bend gives your digestive organs a good massage, thereby improving digestion.
- The kidneys and liver are activated.
- The thighs and knees become strong.
- Menopause and menstrual problems are alleviated.
- This asana helps cure high blood pressure, asthma, infertility, sinusitis, and osteoporosis.