Upward Forward Fold

urdhva Uttanasana

Pronunciation: (OORD-vah-Oo-tan-AHS-anna)

Level: Beginner


1. From Mountain pose exhale forward hinging at the hips to place the hands on the floor. Inhale and lift the torso half way up with the fingertips on the floor and the back flat.

2. Try to have a slight arch in the spine and open the chest, reaching the sternum towards the floor. Keep the back flat and the legs straight and reach the gaze to the ceiling.  Reach the tailbone back and the nose forward to lengthen the spine.

3. Breathe and hold for 1-4 breaths.

4. To release: exhale and lower the torso back down to forward fold.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Upward forward fold lengthens and alighns the spinal column, and stimulates the nervous system. This posture opens the chest and stretches the backs of the legs and the back muscles.

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

Modifications + Variations

Modifications: If you cannot keep the back flat with the fingertips on the floor either slide the hands up to the shins or knees or use yoga blocks under the hands.


Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Mountain, Forward Fold, Standing Squat.

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

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