Uttanasana: Standing Forward Fold

This pose is a balance between stretching the backs of the legs where the hamstrings reside while using the feet in a balanced manner along with the engagement of the inner adductor muscles and buttocks. With the support of the back but not straining that back.

As in any practice, start with a warm-up, like sun salutations.

  1. Hands on hips, slightly bend the knees. Then lift of the right leg in front of you, so you are balancing on the left leg and roll out the ankle a few times then point and flex the foot. Shuffle the leg forward and back to find your center point and strengthen the standing leg. Do both legs and feet.
  1. Connect the muscles of the back to the legs. Stand up with legs hip width apart(2 fists wide), on the exhale gently lower the head then inhale. Exhale slowly begin to round the spine while you bend the knees and go to a place where the spine is like dead weight. When we had phones with cords, I would often have to hold the end of the cord and let it whirl until it was released and unwound. If you remember those days, it’s like this with the spine. The head is heavy so breath and let it just hang. The. When you’re read inhale and role up slowly. Do 3 times. My legs often quiver in this pose as they hold the rest of the body.
  1. Hands on hips inhale roll up on toes and exhale roll to the heels
  1. Keep hands on hips and begin to press your butt back, like a low Uttkatasana. Exhale bring the belly to rest on the thighs, inhale while you hold then exhale begin to straighten the legs. Do this 10 times then shake it out.
  1. Standing cat/cow: exhale round the spine by tucking the pelvis and bringing the head to the chest. Inhale pull the shoulder blades back and slightly lift the sitting bones up (so you are pressing the front of the pelvis down). Many people tend to over do this movement so pay attention that you are still keeping a length in the back as you lift the sit bones and the chest and head toward ceiling. Do this a few times, activate the buttocks and pelvic diaphragm as you move.
  1. Come back to step 4, this time put your hands on the top of your thighs right above the knees, as you press into your feet lift the sit bones toward the ceiling like you did in the standing cat/cow. Slowing begin to straighten the legs. As you straighten the legs press the inner thighs toward each other. Only straighten the legs to a place that is comfortable and now on each exhale, walk your hands to the shins or floor(use blocks if you have them). Hold until you feel you can’t hold any longer and then take two more calm, collected breaths-then release.

Working with these sections of the legs to reach the hamstrings allows back to stay in a neutral position which build stretch and a team work with the whole body.

8.Lye on your back and rest