Uttanasana (Intense Stretch of the Spine Pose) | iHanuman


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English Name: 
Intense Stretch of the Spine Pose
Practice Type: 
Practice Level: 
Asana Image: 
Cora Wen in Uttanasana
Asana Description: 

Geometry: Feet Together. Ankles, Knees and Hips in Line. Chest extended over the legs.
Concave Back: Feet and legs are together as in Tadasana My hips line up over my heels. My Arms are stretched straight. My chest is lifted so my spine is concave.
Classic Asana: Feet and legs are together as in Tadasana. My hips line up over my heels. My torso extends forward over my legs. Hands by the sides of the feet.
1. Stand in Tadasana. Create a wide base with your feet together. Inhale lengthen the front body and place the hands on the hips.
2. Exhale and extend the fingers to the floor beside the feet or onto blocks for support. Inhale. Draw the shoulder blades into the back to remain concave. The inner and lower edge of the shoulder blades lift the sternum.
3. Draw the kneecaps up. Firm the legs. Exhale place the hands on the hips.
Inhale raise the torso forward and up.
Exhale. Stand in Tadasana.

Press the feet and distribute the weight evenly on the feet.
Roll the front inner upper thighs in Lift the front thighs up.
Press the thigh bones back.
Lengthen the tailbone down and draw the abdomen towards the spine.
Roll the outer shoulders back and lift the chest.
Place your hands on your as you inhale and lengthen the front of the body and exhale forward and down.
Place the hands under the shoulders, straighten the arms and lift the chest.
Exhale and place the hands in line with the feet and extend the chest forward and down towards the legs.
Release any gripping in the diaphragm.
Learn to create space in the armpits and legpits at the groins so the sagging organs of the abdomen are lifted and supported by the spine.
Extend the heels of the hands down as you press the fingertips forward to lengthen the sides of the waist towards the floor and lengthen the torso more towards the legs.

See Bobby Clennell's Illustrations and Description of Uttanasana.

Common Problems
Backs of the knees are not fully open.
Hips not aligned over the ankles.
Hands do not reach the floor.
Spine is not concave.
Shoulders roll forward.
Abdomen does not extend before going forward.
Abdomen drops
Lower back is over arched.


This pose relieves stomach pain, depression and calms the nervous system and the brain. Uttanasana relieves dysmennorhea, painful menstruation.

Beginners Tips: 

"Inhale the arms over head, palms forward, place hands beside the feet. Once the body stretches correctly, there is no need to extend the arms overhead first." - Geeta Iyengar, Yoga, A Gem for Women 

Take the feet hip distance apart so as not to bend the knees.

Learn to extend the trunk downwards.
Release the trunk downwards from the sides of the chest and the buttocks.Learn to make the back concave so that the spinal muscles spread to the sides of the trunk.One can grip the ankles with the palms and lengthen the trunk downwards in order to get downward extension of the spine.Those who feel heaviness in the head, flushing or discomfort in Sirsasana should do Uttanasana first. - Geeta Iyengar, Preliminary Course. 

Modifications and Props : 

Grip the ankles with the palms and lengthen the trunk downwards in order to get downward extension of the spine. 

Place sitbones on the wall, feet 1 foot away from the wall, feet hip distance for support and to lengthen the hamstrings.

Place hands on blocks next to the feet if you are not able to reach the floor. Or practice Ardha Uttanasana first. 

Move your hands forward of your feet to extend the sides of the waist and the spine even more.

Move your fingertips in line with your toes and extend the heels of your hands in line with the heels of the feet.

Those who feel heaviness in the head, flushing or discomfort in Sirsasana should do Uttanasana first.


Do not hold the diaphragm tight.


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