How to perform Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
What is Uttanasana?
A forward bend, essential to practically every yoga sequence. Gravity pulls the upper half of your body, helping you effortlessly extend your back muscles one vertebra at a time, and stretch your hamstrings. Your hips tip forward slightly so that they are aligned with your knees and heels.
When to use Uttanasana?
In its full representation, this pose is quite challenging as it requires the practitioner to place the hands on the floor next to the feet, and rest the head on the knees. However, if you feel tightness in your legs, you can do this pose with your knees bent. You can also place your hands on blocks or use wall support if you are new to this kind of bend and want to strengthen your foundations.
When you achieve this posture, especially in its full variation, and hold it for several breaths, you will immediately start to feel the positive effects it has to offer. Folding over this way, you massage the organs in your abdominal area, and this can offer considerable relief if you are suffering from stomach aches. This pose is also said to slow down your heart rate. Thus it can calm the mind and fill you with a sense of peaceful contentment and can counteract the stimulating effects you get from more strenuous and energising poses.
It is recommended to assume Uttanasana in the build-up for inversions from the Sirsasana and Sarvangasana families. This is especially applicable to anyone prone to dizziness or suffering from high or low blood pressure. This is because Uttanasana incorporates a mild inversion of the upper body, thus preparing the brain for the extra blood flow that is experienced in more pronounced inversions.