Forward Bend or Extension – Uttanasana

Stretches the legs and spine, rests the heart and neck, relaxes mind and body begin standing straight in Mountain pose or Tadasana. Inhale and raise the arms overhead. Exhale, bend at the hips, bring the arms forward and down until you touch the floor. It`s okay to bend your knees, especially if you`re feeling stiff. Either grasp your ankles or just leave your hands on the floor and breathe several times. Repeat 3-5 times.

On your last bend, hold the position for 5 or 10 breaths. To come out of the pose, curl upward as if pulling yourself up one vertebra at a time, stacking one on top of another, and leaving the head hanging down until last.

Variations

1. Follow the instructions for the basic pose described above, but instead of holding the pose for several breaths, come up on the inhale. Extend your arms forward as your rise until you are standing straight and your arms are overhead. Exhale and bend forward. Repeat the process 5 times.

2. Go into the pose and take 3 deep breaths. Inhale and raise your head, but keep your hands on the floor. Hook each index finger around each big toe, exhale and come down. Hold for several breaths

3. Inhale and raise your head, again keeping your hands on the floor. This time, slide your hands under your feet so that the tips of your toes are touching heel of your hands. Hold for several breaths.

4. After bending forward, fold your arms and hang for as long as is comfortable. It is a very relaxing pose.

5. To come out of the pose, curl upward as if pulling yourself up one vertebra at a time, stacking one on top of another, and leaving the head hanging down until last.