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Standing Forward Fold – Yoga Pose Of The Week

Standing Forward Pose
Trudy Vains

Trudy Vains

Feb 28, 2021

Standing Forward Fold, also known as ‘ut-tan-asana’ is amazing for calming and de-cluttering the mind while stretching and nurturing your whole body, says our resident yogini Trudy Vains.

“Ut” means intense, “Tan” means stretch and “Asana” means pose.

There is a common perception that this pose must be an intense one if you do it, and that this is the only way to practice yoga. This is simply not true.

Yoga is such an individual practice, and you should never go deeper into any posture than where you feel comfortable. Yoga should never make you feel uncomfortable or strained. The practise of yoga is not about how far you can go into a pose, but more about how you feel in that pose, and how to get there safely, so you can progress at your own pace.

There is never any point to push yourself into a pose, especially anything that looks or feels intense. There are always options and variations of every pose or ‘asana’ in yoga. I will take you through them now.

How To Do Standing Forward Fold

I am going to start with the intense version of this pose, but that is not to say you should.

  • Begin in Mountain Pose, or Tadasana, which is where you are standing still, feet flat and spaced hip width apart, arms by your side.
  • Stand tall, feet hip width apart, and bring your hands to your hips.
  • Slightly bend your knees.
  • Exhale, and as you do, poke your bottom back a little. At the same time, bend forward at the hips, lengthening the front of your torso, keeping your spine straight at all times.
  • Bring your belly down so it rests on your thighs.
  • Bring yours hands to rest on the floor.
  • Straighten your legs.
  • Bring your nose towards your knees or shins.
  • Let your head hang down, resting without any pressure or strain.
  • Hold the pose for up to one minute, and take nice long breaths, in and out through your nose.
  • The more you relax in this pose, the deeper your stretch will be.
Standing Forward Pose
This Is An Example OF A Less Intense Standing Forward Pose. It Is As beneficial But More Suited To Those New To Yoga.

To exit the pose

  • Bring hands to hips.
  • Bend your knees, press your bottom back a little.
  • Look up (make sure that you don’t feel dizzy).
  • Engage your core as though you are drawing your belly button to spine.
  • Inhale and start the straighten up through your body until you are standing in Tadasana again.
  • Enjoy Tadasana, close down your eyes, allow your arms to rest, notice what your feet feel like as you stand, then lift and spread your toes, and then bring them back down onto the mat.  Nice long breaths in and out through your nose.

Less intense variation

  • Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
  • Standing tall, feet hip width apart, with your hands on your hips.
  • Slightly bend your knees.
  • Exhale, poke your bottom back a little and at the same time, bend forward at the hips, lengthening the front of your torso (straight spine).
  • Bring your belly down so it rests on your thighs.
  • Nose in the directions of thighs or knees.
  • Keep hands at your hips or you could take hold of inner elbows and allow gravity to bring you into more of a stretch (keeping knees bent).

Sore lower back variation

Have a yoga block on the floor in front of you, follow the instructions of Less Intense Variation on how to come into the pose safely. Bring your hands down onto the block and decide if you want straight legs or you wish to keep knees bent. Then really start to notice your body. You have a little more ability of movement here to accommodate any issues.

Benefits Of Standing Forward Pose
  • Allowing your head to be below your heart calms your mind.
  • It can help to relieve stress.
  • It aides with headaches, and fatigue.
  • It is an excellent stretch for your whole body, but you will likely feel it more in your hamstrings and calves.
  • It can relieve tension in the neck and shoulders.
  • It can improve digestion.
Contraindications

It is bet to avoid this posture if you have any of the following:

  • Spine issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Pain in the knees

And remember, there are depths that you can reach in this pose but you must listen to your body.

It’s your body, listen to it, you are important.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

By Trudy Vains

Trudy Vains

Trudy Vains is an Author, Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master and Spine Fusion Warrior. Trudy’s book “Fused” provides inspiration and reassurance to those facing spine surgery, as well as many examples of the importance of a positive mindset in overcoming challenges.

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