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Standing Forward Fold

Uttanasana

Level: Beginning

Instructions

1. From Mountain pose exhale forward hinging at the hips. Bend the knees enough to bring the palms flat to the floor and the head pressed against the knees.

2. Feel the spine stretching in opposite directions as you pull the head down and in and press the hips up.  Work on straightening the legs to deepen the stretch in the backs of the legs.

3. Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths, actively pressing the belly into the thighs on the inhalation.

4. To release: bend the knees keeping the back straight, inhale the arms out to the sides and inhale the arms and torso up back into Mountain pose.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Standing Forward Fold pose lengthens the spinal column and stretches the backs of the legs and the back muscles. This posture stimulates digestive, uro-genital, nervous and endocrine systems.

Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the legs, hips, back or shoulders.

Modifications + Variations

Modifications: Place yoga blocks under the hands.
Variations: There are multiple variations on the placement of the hands: A) Hold on to the backs of the ankles, B) Scoop the fingers under the feet until the toes reach the wrists, C) Cross the arms behind the legs and hold onto the front of the ankles with opposite hands, D) Clasp the elbows behind the legs.

Vinyasa

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Mountain, High Lunge, Down Dog, Standing Squat.
Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose: Mountain, High Lunge, Down Dog, Standing Squat.

Comments 1

  1. Yoga isn’t a religion, and there are many forms of Yoga. The Yoga that uses excierse practices or poses(Asanas) is called Raja Yoga. This practice that uses excierses and meditation, combined, and aims to help you find fitness and balance in mind, body and soul. If these three are fit and in balance then you will be able to achieve clarity, happiness, peace and tranquility, which are essential for your daily problem solving and for dealing with all the short and long-term life issues. So give it a try!! Start slowly and gently and after you learn the basics you can take your practice to the next level. Yoga is really fun when you have a regular practice. Good luck and don’t feel discouraged!-Marcella Bingham, San Diego

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