ANATOMY OF YOGA: STANDING FORWARD FOLD
Standing forward fold, also called Uttanasana is a pose that stretches the hamstrings, calves and hips, while releasing any tension around the spine. This is music to our tennis player ears, because strong thighs and knees means a lower risk for injury, which is important for everyone – athlete or otherwise. Uttanasana can also improve digestion and stimulate the liver and kidneys.
Here’s how to do it:
Begin in Mountain Pose with your weight evenly distributed between both feet and place your hands on your hips. For today- lets place our feet hip distance apart and parallel. From there, exhale, and bend forward at the hips, allowing the knees to bend softly. Be sure not to hinge at the waist. You want the spine to stay elongated as you lay your belly over your thighs, relaxing the upper body. Grab each elbow with your hands, as you slightly engage the lower belly and legs to protect your lower back. We place a deep bend in our knees so the stomach can rest easily on the thighs. This takes the hamstrings out of the equation to start. Take 5 breaths here allowing the upper body to relax. Maybe taking some rolls of the shoulders and or nods/shakes with head to release tension around the base of your neck and muscles around the shoulders. Slowly release the hands to the floor - keeping the bend in the knees- then from there- engage your abs and slowly begin to straighten your legs keeping your hands on the floor. If your legs only straighten with your hands coming up off the mat, back out. Keep them bent and hold there. That's enough for you today. Breathe 5 breaths, with time the hamstrings will lengthen further.
Standing forward fold is a super common pose. It’s often overlooked for other, more photogenic poses, but if you’re serious about your yoga practice, perfecting Uttanasana is an absolute must. Follow us on the socials to stay updated on future Anatomy of Yoga blog posts.
*Please note these instructions are very basic guides. If you are new to yoga, please find a local studio near you and take a couple of classes before attempting to practice alone. We cannot be held responsible for an injury caused by following these instructions.