Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Standing Forward Fold (Sanskrit: Uttanasana) is a primary standing posture that many other poses are based off of.

It is a deep forward fold with both feet underneath the hips, rather than out wide at an angle and stretches the hamstrings, calves, and lower back.

It is also a great stress relieving posture, as it calms the body and the mind through relieving pressure from the nervous system.

There are also ways to modify this posture if your hamstrings or lower back happen to be tight.

It is a great pose for beginners!

How to Do Standing Forward Fold: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Stand with your feet underneath your hips in a parallel position.

Step 2

Take a deep inhalation and as you exhale, fold forward. The fold should come from your hips. Notice how far your go, and if you need to, bend your knees.

Step 3

Place your hands to either side of the feet or hold onto the shins or calves. You can also place your hands on a block. If you want a restorative variation, hold opposite elbows and hang like a rag doll. Allow the chest and belly to rest on or as close to the thighs as possible. Draw the shoulders in and stay for 5-10 breaths.

NOTE: It is important to make sure that the weight of this posture is more in the toes than the heels. This way the hips stack right over the heels without putting pressure in the knees.

Standing Forward Fold Benefits

  • Stretches hamstrings, calves, and lower back
  • Calms the mind
  • Relieves stress, insomnia, depression, and anxiety
  • Beneficial for sciatica
  • Improves digestion