“Ut” is a particle indicating deliberation, intensity. The word “Tan” means “to stretch, extend, and lengthen out”. In this asana, the spine is given a deliberate and an intense stretch.
This pose is an essential element of Sun Salutations and helps to prepare the body for deeper forward bends.
When executed correctly, this pose is an intense stretch for the hamstring and back. It should be a relaxing experience rather than intense. So the more you relax in this pose, instead of pushing too hard, the deeper you stretch.
Uttanasana requires patience and practice to be performed well. It can take several years of practice to reach its deepest variation and the body is prone to injury if you overstretch too soon. As a beginner, to increase your flexibility to do the pose in proper alignment, practice with a block or your knees bent until you can straighten your legs without rounding your back. Follow all the alignment cues as per the illustration for achieving the best results in this pose.
- emphasize on lengthening the front of your torso instead of bringing your head and hands all the way down
- fold from the hips and not the waist
- push too hard to seek an intense experience
- Those with back injuries do not straighten your knees, keep them soft
BENEFITS: Uttanasana combines the benefits of forward folds and inversions.
- Dropping your head below your heart calms your brain.
- This pose helps to relieve stress, anxiety, fatigue, mild depression and insomnia.
- It deeply stretches your hamstrings and calves
- It opens the hips and relieves tension in the neck and shoulders
Remember, getting your head to touch your knees is not achieving enlightenment, but a definitive step to help align your body to your mind; so enjoy the journey at your pace!
Neelanjana Bharadwaj – Yoga Expert