Uttānāsana - Intense Stretch Pose

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This classic standing forward bend can bring tremendous relief to tired back and can be used to aid back aches. It produces an intensely calming effect on the nervous system by temporarily increasing the blood pressure in the head.

  1. Stand with you feet hip width apart.

  2. Make sure that your toes are not turning out (or heels in).

  3. Keep the feet in good contact with the floor by lifting and spreading the toes (try to feel the inner edge of the big toe ball-inner=closer to the other toes).

  4. Raise your arms up from the groins, stretch up, opening the groins and extend the front body, flex over the groins pivoting from the hip joints to bring the heel of the hands flat onto the floor (you may need to bend your knees-do not force the back).

  5. If you bent you knees to bring the heel of the hand down then keep them bent or with straight legs take hold of your biceps (right hand holds left bicep, left hand holds right).

  6. Keep head a little lifted for a while (unless there is an injury or pain in the neck) so that the anterior spine can still ‘breathe’.

  7. Stay while you can breathe into the lower back, allow the blood flow to increase in your head.

  8. Bend your knees until your chest physically touches your thighs, release the arms and the crown of the head (arms rest on floor palms up, elbows out, crown faces down to floor).

  9. To come up bring hands onto thighs just above the knees, keep the knees bent but straighten the arms, lock the elbows. Start lifting your head gauging the right pace to ascend as blood pressure lowers in the head, so to avoid dizziness. Walk up the legs to come up all the way when ready.

Calming variation: create a lift for your head to rest on.