Staff Pose
March 28, 2015
Standing Half Forward Bend
March 27, 2015

Standing Forward Bend

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Uttanasana
(oot-tan-AHS-anah)
ut = intense
tan = stretch

BENEFITS

  • Tones and lengthens the spinal nerves
  • Stretches and opens the entire back body
  • Relieves spinal, hip, gluteal, and lower limb tightness
  • Strengthens the abdominals and quads
  • Nourishes the brain with blood

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • High or low blood pressure
  • Glaucoma
  • Osteoporosis or scoliosis
  • Lower back or neck injuries, including disc herniation and degenerative spinal pathologies

HOW TO

  1. From Tadasana (Mountain pose), ground down into your feet, feeling equal pressure in each foot and pressing your big toes into the mat.
  2. Inhale and draw the arms directly out to your sides.
  3. Exhale, drawing awareness to your hips, and begin to hinge forward utilizing a neutral spine and abdominal support. Keep your head in a neutral position and gaze forward toward the floor with a slight tuck of the chin.
  4. As you find your edge, inhale and reach length into your spine once again.
  5. Exhale and begin to gently round the upper spine, maintaining length in your low back. Allow your entire torso to settle toward the floor with the top of the crown reaching toward the toes. Palms can release to the floor, alongside the feet, to deepen the posture.
  6. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to a minute.
  7. To exit, inhale and lengthen your upper spine. Draw your hands to your hips as you begin to rise back up to Mountain pose. Exhale and release the hands along the side body.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

  • Hands to hips, maintaining length in the upper spine
  • Hands to thighs to round the upper spine
  • Hands above the knees, on the shins, or to the ankles

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

  • Backbends
  • Prolonged extension of the spine

TEACHING CUES

  • Press your big toes into the mat.
  • Lift the kneecaps to engage the front of the thighs and create stability in the knee joints.
  • Soften the neck and let the head hang heavy toward the toes.
  • On each inhale, feel your chest expand and spine lengthen. On each exhale, deepen the¬†posture by engaging your core and dissolving¬†forward further.

VARIATIONS

  • Drag the fingertips forward, away from feet, to deepen. Or take palms alongside the heels.

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Low back strain or pain