What is Uttanasana?
Several forward bend yoga postures have been performed for thousands of years to help strengthen two of the most important body parts when it comes to our mobility and health- the core and the back.One such very effective and important pose is Uttanasana meaning an intense stretching asana. Uttanasana is a powerful full-body stretch that involves a forward fold of your upper body over your legs and is a part of the Surya Namaskar yoga routine. It is one of the easiest yoga postures for beginners and is said to impact and stimulate the Mooladhara chakra thats responsible for keeping us grounded with feelings of safety, security, and survival.
Who can perform Uttanasana?
Being a relatively easy posture, Uttanasana can be performed by anyone. It is especially advised for:
- People who experience frequent stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Those who experience recurring headaches, sinus, and migraines.
- People who cannot sleep properly or have been diagnosed with insomnia.
- Those who suffer from frequent digestive problems.
- Those who feel stiffness, pain, or inflammation in their joints and muscles.
- People who have kidney and liver disorders.
- People who suffer from lung-related issues like shortness of breath, asthma, etc.
- People who suffer from fertility issues.
- Seniors can also gently perform Uttanasana.
- Pregnant women can perform a modified version of the Uttanasana yoga pose.
- Women who are menstruating, can perform a gentler and modified version of the Uttanasana yoga pose.
- It is an easy pose for kids, as young as 7 years, to perform.
- People who want to lose weight.
- People who want to better their coordination and balance.
- People who want to improve their immunity.
Who should avoid Uttanasana?
Standing forward bend asana must be avoided by people who:
- Are suffering from fever, cold, or flu.
- Are experiencing severe stress, anxiety, or depression.
- Have suffered an injury in their back, legs, knees, or hamstrings.
- Have severe pain in their back, legs, calves, ankles, etc.
- Suffer from sciatica.
- Have a detached retina or glaucoma.
- Suffer from acid reflux.
- Have been diagnosed with any of the heart diseases.
- Have abdominal hernia.
- Have undergone surgery and are yet to recover and heal.
How does Uttanasana help?
Uttanasana yoga asana is an amazing asana that involves your entire body right from the forehead to the soles of the feet. It stretches almost all the muscles in this span of your body and has great spiritual, physical, and mental benefits. Some of the most important Uttanasana benefits are:
- Uttanasana helps in stretching the hamstrings, calves, and hips. This is especially beneficial for people who are required to sit for long hours.
- Regularly practicing Uttanasana pose helps in strengthening your legs and the back. This is especially beneficial for people who are engaged in high-endurance sports.
- It makes your spine flexible and strong, improving your range of motion.
- One of the most important Uttanasana benefits is that helps remove the pains and inflammation in the joints and muscles due to fatigue or conditions like arthritis, etc.
- Uttanasana pose works on the abdominal muscles helping you to lose weight.
- One of the most important standing forward bend benefits is that it stimulates the digestive organs and helps prevent constipation, bloat, gas, etc.
- Uttanasana helps in improving your blood circulation. This helps in improving your lung functioning and preventing asthma and shortness of breath, strengthening your muscles, and enhancing your immunity.
- An improvement in your blood circulation by regularly practicing Uttanasana helps in improving your cognitive functioning bettering your memory and preventing conditions like dementia, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, etc.
- Performing Uttanasana regularly helps in reducing hair and skin-related disorders and improves their health and quality.
- It helps in infertility-related problems.
- Uttanasana helps in de-stressing and calming your mind. It helps reduce anxiety and panic and balances your moods.
- It helps in eliminating fatigue and exhaustion and helps in energising you.
- In this pose of yoga forward fold, your digestive organs are massaged gently. This not only helps in strengthening and toning their muscles but also in preventing digestive disorders, detoxification, improved nutrition absorption, and regulated bowel movement.
- Uttanasana yoga pose helps in reducing menopause-related discomforts, hormonal imbalances, mood swings, etc.
- This asana helps in stimulating the kidney and liver. This in turn helps in eliminating the disorders of these organs but also detoxifying your body.
- This is a great yoga asana to improve your sleep patterns and treat insomnia.
- Uttanasana helps in boosting your metabolism.
- Since this asana requires bending your head, it improves the blood flow to your neck and head area. This helps in relieving you of sinus and ear pains, blocked ears, frequent colds, stiffness in the jaws or the face, etc.
- People who suffer from weakness or pins and needles sensation frequently in their arms and wrists benefit greatly by practicing this asana regularly.
How is Uttanasana done?
Here is a detailed step-by-step explanation of Uttanasana:
- Do a 5-minute warm-up session before you start practicing Uttanasana.
- Stand straight on a mat and rest your hands at your side.
- Inhale deeply.
- Exhale and slowly bend your knees forward while moving your hips and tailbone slightly back.
- Rest your hands on the ground next to your feet. Your chest should be above your feet.
- You must feel a bit of a stretch in your hamstrings. If you dont, extend your knees a little more.
- Hold this position for 5-10 seconds.
- Contract your core, inhale, and place your hands on your knees.
- Slowly rise back up.
- Do Uttanasana 5-6 times, 3-4 times in a day.
What are some tips for practicing Uttanasana safely?
While Uttanasana is an easy and gentle step, its good to remember a few things before and during its practice. These include:
- Uttanasana for beginners must never be done without an experienced trainer. This will help you in getting introduced to the pose and its benefits. Practicing this asana without knowing the proper technique may result in injury. You can also look for yoga classes near me for this.
- Never overstretch while performing this asana. This may lead to herniation or compression in your muscles or the spine.
- Since this asana involves almost all of your body and muscles, it is important to do a brief warm-up session before beginning Uttanasana.
- Always practice this asana in a space thats free of distractions, clean, and well-ventilated. Switch off your phone and TV before you start practicing.
- Never force yourself to do this asana. Start with a few repetitions and build up gradually.
- Always practice this asana in the early morning hours of 4-6 am. This is when your mind is fresh and your bowels and stomach are empty.
- Pregnant women must always do the modified version of this asana i.e. making a wider stance and using a chair or blocks to create more space.
- Be consistent with the practice of this asana. Taking too frequent breaks will not let you gain its benefits.
- People who have suffered an injury in the legs, arms, shoulders, or neck must not perform Uttanasana before healing completely.
- If you suffer from severe pain in your back or legs, avoid performing this asana before the pain eases.
- Dont perform Uttanasana if you are having fever, flu, or cold.
- If you are experiencing stress or anxiety dont perform this asana. It may result in overheating of the body and palpitations.