Classic Studies On Yoga

The Online Resource of Yoga

Uttanasana

Introduction

Uttanasana is a forward bending yoga pose. Also it forms part of Sun Salutation. The third and tenth position of Sun Salutation is this asana. This fact is a proof that it has been in practice traditionally. Though, it is not found mentioned in the medieval yoga texts, we could not call this a modern yoga pose.

Sritattvanidhi, the ninetienth century text describes this posture. Though it is the earliest mention of the posture, the description is different from the Uttanasana that we know of today. It is entirely a different posture.

The posture as we know of today was first mentioned in the yoga text Yoga Makaranda of Sri Krishnamacharya in the year 1934. Because of this reason, some people call this a modern yoga pose. However, this posture alongwith similar postures were in practice traditionally.

Uttanasana Information

Pose NameUttanasana
Sanskrit Nameउत्तानासन
IASTuttānāsana
English NameStanding Forward Bend
OriginTraditional
LevelIntermediate
GroupUttanasana
TypeStanding Forward Bend

Uttanasana Meaning

It is the combination of two Sanskrit words उत्तान (uttāna) and आसन (āsana). The word uttāna means ‘stretched out’ and as we already know āsana means ‘a yoga position.’ Hence it is a yoga position that involves a forward stretch. To differentiate this posture from the sitting forward stretches like Seated Forward Bend, we call this Standing Forward Stretch or Standing Forward Bend.

It is also spelled as Uthanasana.

How to do Uttanasana?

Uttansana Safety and Precutions

Those who are having issues in their Lumbar spine or lower back pain should avoid this yoga posture.

This being a forward bend, Pregnant ladies should avoid this posture.

Moreover, those who are obese should not attempt this posture. This is because If they want to have this practice, they should perform under a comptetent supervision.

People having conditions like High Blood Pressure, Cardiac issues, Hernia should consult their physician before attempting this posture.

Preparatory Poses

Child Pose is a very good preparatory pose. Child Pose is simple basic level yoga posture and it is very easy to get mastery over. I always recommend Child Pose for all Forward Bends.

Ardha Uttanasana is simpler version of forward bend. This practice this version will lead to the mastery of complete forward bend.

Uttansana Steps

Step 1

Stand erect with feet together and arms on the sides of the body. Breathe normally.

Step 2

While exhaling, bend forward, bending the head first. Then bend the upper trunk and finally the lower trunk.

Step 3

Place the palms on the floor. Touch the knees with your forehead. The legs and arms should be straight. Breathe Normally. Keep the position as long as it is comfortable.

Duration

The duration of final position may be for 30 seconds to one minute initially. During the course of the practice over time, this can be extended up to two or three minutes. Those who could not perform this posture for longer duration may repeat the steps for three to five rounds.

Follow Up Poses

The practice of this posture should compulsorily be followed with any one of the backward bends.

  1. Wheel Pose
  2. Bow Pose
  3. Locust Pose
  4. Camel Pose

Advanced Pose Considerations

After getting mastery over this posture, the practitioner may attempt the advanced postures like Standing Head Between Knees Pose.

Similar Poses

The similar poses are

  1. Hand To Foot Farward Bend
  2. Ardha Uttanasana
  3. Niralamba Uttansana

Uthanasana Variation

Bihar School of Yoga describes a different version. According to this school, this posture is dynamic yoga exercise that involves squat and rise.

The following are the steps of Squat and Rise Pose.

  1. Stand erect with the feet thirty to forty inches apart.
  2. Straighten the arms down and interlock the fingers.
  3. Turn the soles and toes opposite to each other.
  4. Now bend the knees and lower the body, exhaling. Keep the arms and trunk straight.
  5. Then straighten the knees and come back to upright position, inhaling. Keep the arms straight and interlock in tact.
  6. Repeat the process for the desired number of rounds.

Uttanasana Benefits

  1. This practice tones up the digestive system. Hence it removes Indigestion and constipation.
  2. It stimulates the Nervous Sytem. Therefore it is good for stress, depression, and anxiety.
  3. This posture stretches the muscles of the stomach. So it helps to reduce the belly. This posture is one of the important postures that helps in wieght management.
  4. It improves metabolic activity. Hence it will be helpful for the conditions like High blood pressure and Diabetes mellitus.
  5. This practice improves the circulation to the upper part of the body. Therefore it boosts the funtions of brain, pituitory and thyroid glands.