What is Uttanpadasana?
Uttanpadasana is a modern yoga pose that finds its first mention in the 20th-century works of yoga by B.K.S Iyengar and Krishnamacharya. It is an intense stretch of the legs. Also known as the Raised Leg Pose, the asana gets its name from the Sanskrit terms ‘uttana’ meaning intense stretch, ‘pada’ meaning feet or legs, and ‘asana’ meaning posture.
Uttanpadasana yoga pose is performed after prepping your body with asanas such as Matsyasana (Fish Pose), Shavasana (Corpse Pose), and Single leg raise pose (Eka Pada Uttanpadasana). It prepares your body for more challenging asanas such as Sarvangasana and Viparit Karni.
Who can do Uttanpadasana?
Uttanpadasana yoga pose can be modified to suit people of different age groups, fitness & conditioning levels, and general state of health. Those who can do Uttanpadasana include:
- People who want to lose weight.
- Those who want to reduce stress and anxiety.
- People who want to gain strength and improve their range of motion.
- Those who want to improve their posture.
Who should avoid Uttanpadasana?
If you suffer from any of these health conditions, you should avoid doing the Uttanpadasana pose without consulting your doctor:
- High blood pressure
- Any recent injury or surgery, especially in the abdomen, legs, or back.
- Slipped disc
- Severe back pain
- Severe spondylitis
- Cardiovascular problems
- Migraine or chronic headaches
How is Uttanpadasana done?
Just like any other yoga pose, you need to perfect the steps of the Uttana Padasana yoga pose to prevent muscular strain or injuries.
Here are the Uttana Padasana steps & procedure that you need to follow:
- Lie on your back in a comfortable position.
- Slowly flex your elbows to lift your back and arch your neck.
- Tilt the crown of your head to make it touch the floor.
- Take a deep breath in and raise your legs off the floor. Your legs must be at an angle of 45-degrees. Make sure that your feet are together and your toes are pointing to the ceiling.
- Exhale deeply and stretch your arms forward. Join your palms in a prayer pose. Your arms must be parallel to the thighs.
- Your body must be balanced on your hips and crown of the head.
- Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds or for as long as you can.
- To release the pose, inhale and bring your arms down slowly and place your hands on the floor.
- Exhale and bring your legs to the floor and relax your body in a supine position.
What are some variations of Uttanpadasana?
Depending on your objectives, you can variations of the raised leg pose that makes your practice easier or more challenging.
Here are some Uttanpadasana yoga variations that you can try:
- Eka Pada Uttanpadasana yoga pose: Also known as the Single Raised Leg Pose, this variation is an excellent exercise for people who want to strengthen their core and cure conditions such as muscle stiffness, constipation, and postural issues.
- Lie on your back with your hands together and hands on your side. Your chin must be close to your chest.
- Inhale and bring your right leg up to 90-degrees.
- Hold the pose for 30-40 seconds and lower the leg.
- Repeat on the same side.
- Uttanpadasana variation with hands on the floor: This is an easier variation of the Uttana Padasana yoga asana that helps you build core muscles and improve your strength.
- Lie on your back with arms on the sides.
- Lift your legs off the floor so that they are at an angle of 45-degrees from the floor.
- Hold the pose for as long as you can.
- Return to the starting position.
- Uttanpadasana variation with hands behind the head: This is an excellent variation to strengthen the muscles in your neck and shoulders.
- Lie on your back with your hands tucked under the head.
- Lift your legs off the floor slowly so that they are at an angle of 45-degrees from the ground.
- Hold the pose for as long as you can.
- Return to the starting position.
What are the benefits of Uttanpadasana?
Regularly practicing the Uttanpadasana benefits your physical and mental health. These include:
- One of the most important Uttana Padasana benefits is that it strengthens your leg and hip muscles. These include your glutes, calves, and hamstrings. In the long run, this also enhances your lower body stability.
- Uttanapadasana is a great asana to stretch your arms and shoulders and improve upper body strength.
- People who suffer from lower back problems benefit from Utthanpadasana. It stretches your back and improves its flexibility. This prevents pain and stiffness and improves your posture.
- Utthanpadasana is a great pose to enhance one’s agility and flexibility. It improves your functionality easing daily movements.
- Uttanpadasana steps enhance your circulation. This keeps your brain sharp and healthy and prevents neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
- One of the most important Uttanpadasana benefits is that it tones your abdomen by stretching its muscles. This burning of excess abdominal fat prevents obesity-related disorders.
- Uttana Padasana steps can be easily done at home with minimal setup. This makes it a great addition to your home workouts.
How to do Uttanpadasana safely?
Here are some things to keep in mind to do Uttanpadasana steps safely to prevent injuries.
- Always perform Uttanpadasana pose on an empty stomach or at least four hours after a meal.
- In case you have a limited range of motion or tightness in the back, use props such as a bolster, cushion, or yoga block to support yourself.
- While doing this yoga for beginners, start practising this asana with one leg first.
- Don’t start doing Uttanapadasana on your own. Learn it by joining online yoga classes or from an experienced yoga trainer.
Uttanapadasana is a pose that has tremendous benefits both for your mind and body. However, the key to gaining these Uttana Padasana benefits is to be consistent with your practice, keep yourself challenged, and make healthy lifestyle choices.
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