ut = intense or deliberate
tana = stretch
asana = pose
Uttanasana is a wonderful stretch for those dealing with anxiety or depression. With the head below the heart, the spinal nerves and brain cells are rejuvenated as heartbeat slows.
- Begin standing in Tadasana with your legs straight and fully stretched. Inhale placing your hands on your hips, tightening and pulling your kneecaps backward.
- On your exhale bend forward from the waist, keeping your legs fully stretched. Feel the intense stretch on the backs of your knees and hamstrings. Without locking your knees engage your quadriceps helping to release the pressure in your hamstrings. Check that your hips are over your ankles and feel your weight evenly pressing into your feet.
- If possible, place your finger tips or palms to the floor slightly in front of you.
- For a deeper stretch bring your palms behind your ankles or behind your feet.
- For a less intense stretch, you can either cross your forearms allowing gravity to do the work, add a slight bend to your knees, or use a prop such as a block or chair to rest your hands on. In addition you can separate your angles hip width to free your back, buttocks and legs.
- With each inhalation, try to slightly lift and lengthen the front torso, and then release a little fuller into the bend with each exhale. Make sure that you do not tighten your neck and instead let your head hang loose. Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds.
- To come out of the pose, bring your hands back to your hips, engage your core and press your tailbone down, lengthening your torso as you rise back to Tadasana on an inhale.