Standing Forward Bend
Standing Forward Bend, Uttanasana, is also called intense forward bending pose. This pose strengthens the knees and thighs. It helps to stretch the hips, hamstrings, and the calves. This pose is used to calm the mind and rejuvenate the whole body. This is another pose that is part of the Sun Salutations sequence as it prepares the whole body for deeper forward bends. When this pose is done right it is particularly good for an intense stretch for the hamstrings and the back. Yet, this pose should be relaxing and comfortable. Make sure not to push too hard trying to seek the “intense” experience.
The benefits of Standing Forward Bend combine both forward folds and inversions. Dropping your head below your heart allows you to calm your brain. This helps in relieving stress, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, depression and insomnia. This pose opens the hips and relieves tension in the neck and shoulders. The more you relax in this pose the deeper you are able to stretch.
To do this pose successfully, begin is mountain pose with your hands above your head and arms parallel to your ears. With a nice exhale bend forward at the hip, lengthening the torso. Bend both arms at the elbow and use opposite hand to hold the opposite elbow. Let the crown of you head hang down, while pressing your heels into the floor. Make sure not to lock your knees.