Standing Forward Bend

 Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

 

Technique

 

  • Standing-Forward-Bend-300x200Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with legs hip-width apart, arms alongside the body and weight evenly balanced.
  • Take arms upwards in as you inhale.
  • Fold forwards from the hips as you exhale.
  • Place palms on the floor underneath your shoulders if you can, else let them hang down as far as they will go.
  • Tuck your chin in gently towards your chest, so that the crown of your head is pointing towards the floor.
  • With the feet firmly rooted into the floor, encourage a growth in two directions as you breath:
    • With each inhalation, grow upwards from the feet, lifting the tailbone as high as you can.
    • With each exhalation, relax the body and allow gravity to draw the upper half of your body closer towards the ground.
  • When you are ready to come out, slowly build yourself back up to Mountain pose.

 

Benefits

 

  • A great way to lengthen the spine.
  • Stretches the muscles in the back of our body, all the way from our heels to the top of our head.
  • Gently stimulates the digestive organs.
  • Relaxes the central nervous system.
  • The gentle inversion uses gravity to:
      • Send venous blood back to the heart
      • Stimulates the lymphatic system.
      • Make it easier for the heart to send oxygenated blood to the brain

 

Variations

 

  • Allow the knees to bend a little if the back of the body, particularly the hamstrings, are very stiff.
  • There are a number of options available regarding the hand positions. For example, they could be on the shins, ankles or calves instead of on the floor.