Standing Forward Bend
The Standing Forward Bend Pose or Uttanasana opens and lengthens the back of the legs, and keeps the spine strong and flexible.
The Standing Forward Bend Pose can be done by:
1. Start by standing tall with your arms relaxed by your sides. Try grounding the body by feeling your leg muscles and adjusting them slightly if it feels needed. Keep a slight bend in the knees as you begin to prepare for folding forward.
2. When you are ready, begin to exhale as you draw your belly back and up and then fold forward from the hips, while keeping the torso lengthened.
3. To begin with, you can keep the knees bent and release any tension you might feel in the lower back. Let your arms softly hang down or take hold of your opposite elbows.
4. Keep breathing and bring attention to the lengthening of your torso on every inhale, and then when exhaling try to come a little deeper into the pose.
5. Allow the weight of your head to drop heavily down, and, if it feels comfortable for your hamstrings, extend your hips slightly further up and back, so that the legs begin to straighten a little more.
6. Keep your gaze looking towards your nose, as you stay here for at least five long and deep breaths.
7. To come out of the pose, bend your knees slightly and lift the torso up while keeping a neutral and straight spine. Finally, coming back to a standing position.
Read the following cautions to stay safe:
• Do not perform this position when you have a back injury, see ‘Making the pose easier’ for a modified and easier version of this pose.
• If you are concerned about anything with this pose, please consult a physician about whether this practice is good for you.
• You can bend the knees, either slightly or even so deeply that your belly starts to rest on your thighs. Additionally, you could slowly reduce the angle of your bend every time you practice this pose.
• If you really have difficulty with your balance, you could try to place your hands on the wall and fold forward so that your hips, shoulders, and arms are in one line. Another alternative is to try the seated forward bend pose.