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Uttanasana


(Intense standing forward bend)


This primary standing pose offers many benefits:   

  • lengthens the hamstrings  
  • stretches the back side of the body  
  • tones the abdominal organs
  • allows the body and mind to rest  


Instructions: 

  • Stand in tadasana (mountain pose) with feet hip distance apart and hands on your hips
  • Inhale and lift your sternum  
  • Exhale and bend forward at the hip joint to bring hands toward the floor; if hands don’t reach, place blocks under your hands or rest your hands on your shins
  • Inhale and lift the torso into the “half way up” position (spine should be parallel to the floor)
  • Press your thighs back firmly
  • Draw your low belly in and up and lengthen through your sternum
  • Exhale and release into the full forward bend, maintaining the length of the front torso
  • Shift more weight into the ball mounts of the feet so the legs are vertical and the sit bones lift
  • Surrender the crown of your head toward the floor.
  • Stay for 5 breaths
  • To exit: inhale and lift the spine halfway up; exhale and place your hands on your hips, plug your weight into your heels; inhale and lift the torso back to tadasana (mountain pose)