Focus on Asanas–October: Standing Poses, Uttanasana
A new week means 5 new poses in our October series focusing on standing asanas. This week, we ‘ll be discussing Uttanasana I, Prasarita Padottanasana I, Parsvottanasana, Virabhadrasana I and Virabhadrasana II. Today we’ll begin with Uttanasana I – extension pose.
We’ll start with a pose you can use to relax between intense asanas. As you likely know from class, there are many variations on this pose. For our purposes, we’ll be discussing the most basic version of the pose. Note that the picture shows Uttanasana with your hands on your ankles; however, our version is baddha hasta uttanasana, where your hands hold your elbows, enhancing the natural stretch of the back through hanging.
Doing the Pose:
1. Stand in Tadasana (see last Monday’s post for instruction.)
2. For this variation, step your feet about one foot apart. Straighten your legs.
3. With an inhalation, reach your arms above your head. Straighten your arms.
4. With an exhalation, bend at the hips and take your torso toward your knees. Do this by first lengthening through your chest and bending forward, keeping your back as straight as you can.
5. Grasp your elbows in your hands and hang. Maintain straight legs. With an exhalation, release your torso downward into the pose.
6. If you are unable to move past a 90 degree angle between your straight legs and straight back, you can alternatively straighten your arms and place them on a wall, or you can bend your knees and place your ribs on your thighs and work to gradually straighten your legs.
6. To come up, place your hands on your hips, lift your chest and stand up. Step your feet back into Tadasana.
As mentioned, this pose is immensely restful between particularly intense poses. Benefits include: stress relief; helps with mild depression and anxiety; improves digestion and kidney & liver function; stretches hamstrings, calves and hips; helps with insomnia and headaches.