Yoganatomy: Forward Fold

Written by Katy Henderson

Uttanasana (OOT-tan-AHS-ahna)

Start standing with feet hip width or wider. Inhale, sweeping the arms up overhead. Exhale, bending knees slightly, core engaged, hinging from the hips, and forward fold the upper body towards the thighs.

Grab the opposing elbows. Shake the head yes or no. Allow the upper body, head and neck to relax.  

Inhale, lengthening the crown of the head toward the ground. Exhale, bringing the hips toward the sky, lifting the knee caps and spiraling the inner, upper thighs back.  

Hold for 3 to 5 full breaths. Inhale with a strong core and straight spine, reach the arms out to the side and reverse the hinge of the hips back to standing upright.  

Benefits: Forward fold opens and stretches the entire back side of your body from your heels to the head. It promotes strength and flexibility in the spine by putting space between the vertebra, increasing circulation.  

Contraindications: Those with spinal conditions and concerns and osteoporosis should consult their physician before practicing forward folds.

About the author

Katy Henderson

Katy is the founder of the Studio South Yoga in Williamsburg, Virginia. Her studio is a non-judgmental, welcoming space where everyone is encouraged to participate. Her driving force is to share all the wonderful aspects of yoga with the world.