Uttanasana or Forward Fold is a great asana for stretching the hamstrings, calves and hips and for strengthening the thighs and knees.
Step by Step Guide to Uttansana/Forward Fold
• Stand with the feet slightly apart
• Keep the knees slightly bent
• Inhale and then as you exhale hinge from the hips and not the waist and let the arms fall forwards
• If you’re prone to dizziness make sure you position your feet a little wider apart to give yourself a firm base
• If you feel dizzy then slowly sit down
• Straighten your legs if you can, if not just keep your knees bent
• With your first two fingers and thumb grab hold of your big toe and ground it firmly to the floor
• Relax in this position for a few deep breaths.
• Press your heels firmly to the floor while keeping the weight forwards onto the balls of your feet
• Lift the sitting bones
• Turn the tops of the thighs slightly inward
• You should feel the stretch in the calves, the hamstrings and any tension being released from the spine
• Feel comfortable and relaxed in this position
• When you’re ready to move out of this position bend the knees further into a squat position and push up through the legs
• People with back injury, osteoporosis or both should approach this exercise very cautiously.
• People with high blood pressure should go into this pose gradually and remain in it only if their breathing is not strained.
• People with low blood pressure should come out of this pose very slowly, because they may become dizzy
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