Yoga Anatomy: Safely Care for Your Body as You Stretch into Forward Bends


Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) is a common pose that gently massages your abdominal organs, calms your nervous system, and stretches your back body (hamstrings, glutei, and back muscles). The pose―an integral part of Sun Salutations and flow yoga classes―improves balance, stimulates circulation, and challenges breathing by strengthening your diaphragm, which must work harder to inhale in this inverted orientation.

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Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) Instructions

Stretch your entire back body with this pose. Get the most out of the asana by keeping a slight bend in your knees. This may help you feel the stretch in the belly (center) of your hamstrings. To protect your meniscus, tendons, and ligaments from pulling and tearing, don’t lock your knees.

Standing Forward…

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