Pṛṣṭha uttāna āsana

Uttānāsana (उत्तानासन), also known in English as Standing Forward Bend, it is a modern Asana that comes from the Sanskrit words उत्तान uttāna, which means “intense stretch”, and आसन; āsana, “pose”. It is part of the standing asana series, and it increases ojas and Apāṇ prāṇ (downward force).

Instructions
  1. Entering into the asana
    Inhale from Tadasana raise your hands up.
    Exhale, reach forward, keeping the back flat and place your hands around your legs/on the floor/on your ankles/first two fingers around your toe/under your feet. Straighten your legs without hyperextending. Relax the neck, let go of your head and the crown of your head towards the ground.
  2. Staying in the asana
    Inhaling, extend your chest to lengthen the spine and relax your hamstrings.
    Exhaling, ground your feet, press the four corners of your feet in your mat, and surrender to the force of gravity.
  3. Going out of the asana
    Slowly unroll your spine, vertebra by vertebra with your arms and head hanging, until reaching Tadasana.

Pay attention to how you come in and out of the asana, and always respect your limit.

Variations

Variation #1 (hands on the earth)
Pṛṣṭhottānāsana (hastabhū)
Pṛṣṭha uttāna āsana (hasta bhū)

Variation #2 (hands under feet)
Pṛṣṭhottānāsana (pādāhasta)
Pṛṣṭha uttāna āsana (pāda hasta)

Benefits
  • Reduces stress and helps with insomnia
  • Calms brain and thoughts
  • Gives you focus, awareness and concentration
  • Energy flow and oxygen to the head
  • Improves your posture lengthening the spine
  • Relieves back stiffness, neck tension and muscular tension
  • Increases hip flexibility and massages the digestive organs
  • Stimulates the pineal, pituitary, thyroid, and parathyroid glands
  • Balances the following chakras: Mūlādhāra, Svādhiṣṭhāna, Maṇipūra, and Ājñā

Controindications
  • Severe constipation or strong headaches
  • Low/high blood pressure, glaucoma or detached retina
  • Be careful in case of lower back pain, cervical and lumbar spondylitis, sciatica, or herniated disc issues
  • Any lower-back, hips, knee, shoulders, rib cage, neck, spinal, or pelvis injury
  • Hamstring tear, calves, shoulders ankles, or any other ligament or tissue
  • Pregnancy, postnatal women (first 4 weeks), and moon cycle