Standing Forward Bend, Uttanasana

The art of the forward bend lies in bending from the hips, not the waist and this is achieved by mobility in the pelvis.  The more you are able to tilt the pelvis and extend the backs of the legs, the more easily you will find you can move into this posture.

This posture is shown in its final form and you can practice it gently to begin with.  Try extending your arms and placing your hands in front of you on a windowsill or table top and practice bending forward from the hips, keeping the arms straight.  This will encourage the stretch in the legs and the tilt in the pelvis while you remain safe and supported.


  • Improves mobility in the pelvis
  • Extends the backs of the legs
  • Lengthens the spine
  • Produces some of the benefits of an inverted posture, e.g. increasing blood flow to the head and neck
  • Improves digestion (though not straight after a heavy meal!)
  • Can help with depression and anxiety

How to do it

  • From a standing position raise your arms above your head, breathing in.
  • As you breathe out, bend forward from the hips and extend the arms away in front of you.
  • Place the hands on the thighs, shins or further down if you can.
  • Relax gently into the bend, allowing gravity to help you
  • Use each breath out to help you relax.
  • Don’t over do it – it’s better to start gently and improve slowly.
  • Bend the knees before coming back out of the posture.
  • Unroll out of the posture, keeping the spine soft and bringing your head up last.
  • Stand quietly before moving on to other postures.

Things to watch

  • If you have problems with your eyes or ears, lowering the head in this way is not advisable.
  • For those with high blood pressure, avoid staying upside down for more than a moment or two unless you are satisfied that this is OK for you.
  • Avoid locking the knees back.
  • If you have back problems, keep the knees slightly bent.

Link for more info: – it’s the 5th posture on the list

Izzy Ixer

British Wheel of Yoga Dip Yoga Tutor and Coach

You can find out more about Izzy here and about yoga at the Centre here

Twitter @IzzyIxer or @IzzyYoga


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