Standing Forward Bend



The Standing Forward Bend pose:

  • Stretches your hips, hamstrings, and calves.
  • Strengthens your thighs and knees.
  • Massages your internal organs and helps improves digestion and cleanses mucous from the lungs.
  • Relaxes you central nervous system and helps calm your mind
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Helps reduces headaches, fatigue, insomnia.
  • Helps relieve symptoms of menopause and is therapeutic for osteoporosis.
  • Pose

  • Cautions

  • Modifications

Avoid the Standing Forward Bend if you have:

  • Lower back problems or you have a back or hamstring injury. However, you can perform this pose with knees bent and hands supporting on the thighs.
  • High blood pressure.
  • A late term pregnancy.
  • Eye or inner ear infection.
  • For easier version, open your feet hip width apart and keep your feet parallel.
  • For deeper version, hold onto the back of your ankles and wrap forearms on calves and allow assistance from your arms to increase the fold at your hip joint.
  • Images
  • Step-by-step

Uttanasana (OOT-tan-AHS-anna)
ut = intensetan= to stretch or extend

  1. As you stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), place your hands on your hips and inhale.
  2. As you exhale, soften your knees and fold slowly forward from your hips. Counterbalance your body weight by moving your tailbone and hips back slightly as the body leans forward.
  3. Keep your knees soft so your sit bones point up to the ceiling and your hip points roll forward into the upper thighs.
  4. Rest your hands on the ground beside your feet or hold onto your elbows. Ensure that your feet are still parallel (second and middle toes pointing forward). Hollow out your belly and encourage the chest bone to float down to the top of your feet and increase the space between your pubis and your chest bone.  Feel that the fold comes from your hip joint and not from rounding of your lower back.
  5. If the hamstrings feel ease in this stretch, slowly extend your knees more while pushing your sit bones up to the ceiling.
  6. Root into the heels as you slightly turn the top of the thighs inwards. This inwards rotation of your thighs aligns and isolates more of the inner hamstring lines.
  7. Let your head dangle so the crown of yourhead reaches down to the floor so your gaze is through the legs.  Hold for several slow breathes.
  8. To exit, contract your abdominal and core muscles.
  9. As you inhale, place your hands on your hips, soften your knees, and reach your chest far forward. Rise up from your hips keeping your back long. Keep the length between the pubis and chest bone. Continue to lengthen your torso as you come up to standing.
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kachemak, posted on January 13, 2013

I need clarification on core engagement in forward bend. Yes or no? You say here "hollow out your belly". Does that mean actively pull the belly button to the spine? Or does it mean something else? For years I hung happily in this pose, adoring the stretch it gave me. Then I came to suspect it was the culprit for a long-term, slow-to-heal injury deep in my right back hip area.

queenie222, posted on April 25, 2012

Thank You. As a beginner this was very easy to follow.

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