Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Uttanasana gets its name from Sanskrit where "Ut" means "Intense", "tan" means "to stretch" or "extend" and "asana" means "pose or posture
Uttanasana is also called Standing Forward Bend from the way it is performed. It is one of the simple yoga poses but has many therapeutic advantages. It also revitalizes the body when practiced regularly and provides oxygen boost to the whole body. In the Standing Forward Bend Yoga posture, your head hangs below the heart allowing fresh oxygen-rich blood to flow to your brain.

Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Yoga Pose is bliss for people who work for continuous long hours and have started getting back and spinal problems because of prolonged sitting. It is the best remedy for such back ailments and a an excellent asana to strengthen the spine.

It is said that Uttanasana wakes up the hamstrings and soothes and revitalizes the mind. While practicing Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Yoga Pose, always make sure that you choose the right technique and do not over exert yourself as over stretching can lead to strain in the back.

Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Yoga Pose relieves tension in the neck and back. It also improves digestion and eases symptoms of headache and sinusitis.

teps to do Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend

Steps to do Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend

  • To practice Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Yoga Pose, get into Tadasana on the floor or on the yoga mat.
  • Bring your arms towards hips in make your hands rest on your hips.
  • Take deep breath or inhale deeply and expand your chest while inhaling.
  • While exhaling, fold your body starting from the hips and move forward. In this position, your upper body or torso will be perpendicular to the legs.
  • Keep bending your body further forward and make your hands touch the floor on the side of your legs .This would require flexibility in the body.
  • It will loosen your hamstring muscles over a period of time with practice. And, if you are not able to touch the floor with the hands, do not strain. Just go as far as you can without pain.
  • With constant practice, you will be able to touch the floor with your hands. Also, make sure that you do not bend your knees while practicing Uttanasana or Standing
  • Forward Bend Yoga Pose.
  • Advanced level practitioners can touch their forehead to the knees or can make their head rest between the thighs and their hands can also clasp the ankles.
  • This would be Uttanasana's final position. Stay in this position for a few breaths or for as long as your body feels comfortable.
  • Stop practicing Uttanasana as soon as you start feeling pain in back, hips or the groin region.
  • While inhaling, release the pose and come back to the standing position and place your hands on the hips.
  • It is also advised to practice backward bending asanas like Bhujangasana and Dhanurasana after Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Yoga Pose as counter yogasanas.

Breathing Pattern to Be Followed While Practicing Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend

  • Inhale deeply while placing hands on your hips.
  • Exhale while bending forward.
  • Maintain your breath while in Uttanasana final position. Inhale and exhale deeply in this position.
  • Inhale while coming back in Tadasana.

Benefits of Practicing Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend

  • One of the important benefits of Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Yoga Pose is that it stretches the back, hips, groin and calves by giving them strength and makes them more flexible.
  • It also stimulates the digestive organ thereby improving the digestion.
  • Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Yoga Pose is beneficial in relieving stress, tension and anxiety and calms the mind.
  • It gives strength to the knees and thighs.
  • Uttanasana also helps in alleviating disorders associated with Menopause and it also helps in reducing menstrual pain when practiced regularly.
  • Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Yoga Pose is also beneficial in lowering High blood pressure.
  • It also helps in treating lung disorders like Asthma.
  • With regular practice Uttanasana helps in getting rid of Constipation.
  • When practiced regularly, Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Yoga Pose keeps the reproductive system of both males and females healthy.
  • Uttanasana is also considered therapeutic for Sinusitis and Osteoporosis.
  • It improves the blood circulation in the body and improves metabolism as well.
  • Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Yoga Pose also is beneficial in strengthening muscles of the back and spine.
  • Uttanasana is one of the best asanas to loosen p hamstring muscles.
  • Uttanasana stimulates the spleen, liver and kidneys thereby improving their functioning.
  • It also makes the hips flexible.
  • Uttanasana also improves the functioning of Endocrine and Nervous system with regular practice.
  • It also helps in removing fat around belly and hips.

Uttanasana Variations or Standing Forward Bend Variations

  1. Uttanasana Variation 1 (Standing Forward Bend With Bent Knees)

    • Stand on the floor or on the yoga mat with a little distance between your feet.
    • Bend forward starting from the hip joint in such a way that your belly makes contact with your thighs.
    • You can bend your knees as much as you can to get into this position.
    • Let your head and neck relax completely and let your hands touch the floor close to your feet.

    Benefits of Uttanasana Variation 1

    • Bending forward while bending knees in Uttanasana opens up the back and helps in getting rid of minor sprain in back.
    • It also lengthens the muscles of spine thus making it more flexible.
  2. Uttanasana Variation 2 (Standing Forward Bend With Bent Knees & Elbows Locked)

    • Stand on the floor or on the yoga mat with a little distance between your feet.
    • Bend forward starting from the hip joint in such a way that your belly makes contact with your thighs.
    • You can bend your knees if this feels comfortable.
    • Grab your left elbow with your right hand and your right elbow with your left hand in such a way that the weight of your arms draws your shoulder blades towards your ears.

    Benefits of Uttanasana Variation 2

    • This standing forward bend yoga pose is very beneficial to relieve upper and middle back pain.
    • Uttanasana variation 2 also helps in getting rid of shoulder pain.
  3. Uttanasana Variation 3 (Standing Forward Bend With Hands in Namaskar Position Behind Back)

    • Stand on the floor or on the yoga mat with a little distance between your feet.
    • Bend forward starting from the hip joint in such a way that your belly makes contact with your thighs.
    • You can bend your knees if this feels comfortable.
    • Bring your hands in Namaskar position behind your back.

    Benefits of Uttanasana Variation 3

    • Uttanasana variation 3 is very helpful in relieving tightness in the shoulders along with all the other asana benefits.
    • With this variation the even the smallest and deepest muscles of the shoulders are stretched which are otherwise inaccessible.
  4. Uttanasana Variation 4

    • Stand on the floor or on the yoga mat with a little distance between your feet.
    • Bend forward starting from the hip joint in such a way that your belly makes contact with your thighs.
    • You can bend your knees if this feels comfortable.
    • Interlace fingers of both hands with each other.
    • Draw your hands away from your back and towards your head.
    • Stay in this pose for a few seconds or as long as your body feels comfortable in.

    Benefits of Uttanasana Variation 4

    • Along with stretching and relieving pain from shoulders, Uttanasana variation 4 opens up the chest as well.
    • It also helps in stretching the biceps and forearms.
  5. Uttanasana Variation 5

    • Stand on the floor or on the yoga mat with a little distance between your feet.
    • Bend forward starting from the hip joint in such a way that your belly makes contact with your thighs.
    • Make your left hand reach your right foot crossing in front of your chest and simultaneously make your right hand reach for your left foot.
    • In this position, you should be looking out from underneath your left arm.
    • Hold this pose for a few breaths or for a long as you feel comfortable.

    Benefits of Uttanasana Variation 5

    • Along with all the benefits of Uttanasana, it stimulates the digestive organs and improves the digestion.
    • Uttanasana helps you get a deeper stretch in your upper back and in your hamstrings.

Precautions and Contraindications to Be Taken While Practicing Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend

  • People with back ailments like Slipped Disc, Sciatica and Herniated Disc should not practice Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Yoga Pose.
  • You must stop practicing Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Yoga Pose immediately when you feel any discomfort in body.
  • People who have any doubts about practicing Uttanasana or have any chronic back or abdominal issues should consult physician and must practice under the guidance of a trained yoga expert.
  • People with back injuries must practice Uttanasana with the knees bent so that a very less pressure is exerted on the back and the hands must touch the floor comfortably. In case you feel strain in taking your hands to the floor, do not over exert. Go only as far as you body allows. You can grasp your ankles with your palms in case you are not able to touch the floor with your hands.
  • People with any back injuries can practice Ardha Uttanasana by placing your hands on a wall, such that they are parallel to the floor. Make sure your legs are perpendicular to your torso In this position.
  • People with eye disorders like Glaucoma or Detached retina should also not practice Uttanasana.
  • You should not practice Uttanasana if you have a tear in your Hamstrings.
Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 4, 2017

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest