The classic standing forward bend, Uttanasana is used as a transitional pose in most classes, but can be rewarding all on its own. Like all seemingly simple poses in yoga, there are actually a few things to consider.
Begin in Tadasana. The hands can stay on the hips or you can reach them overhead on an inhale. As you exhale, lengthen the torso as you begin to bend from the hips. Keep as much space as possible between the hips and the sternum until you reach you limit of flexibility. Only then can you bend at the waist a bit (and only a bit) and bring the hands down. Eventually, take the hands to the outside of the feet. It this is not possible, the hands can come to a block or you can simply hold on to opposite elbows as you hang. The knees can also bend if needed.
As you ground through the feet, try and press equal weight into all corners of both feet. At the same time, lift the sit bones toward the ceiling to lengthen the back of the legs. Try and spread the sit bones by rolling the upper thighs lightly inwards.
Keep the neck relaxed so that the head releases to gravity and the spine stays nice and long. Tune in to the breath as you hold in the pose. On the inhale, try and lengthen the spine while on the exhale you can relax more fully into the pose.
Hold as long as you like and feels comfortable. To come out, take an inhale and lengthen the spine. As you exhale, take the hands to the waist, then inhale again to come all the way up.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!