Standing Forward Bend

Definition - What does Standing Forward Bend mean?

Standing forward bend is a yoga postured designed to provide a strong stretch for the back of the body. It is also an inversion because the heart is higher than the head when the body is in this pose. The feet are placed together flat on the ground, the legs are straight and the body hinges forward from the hips. The neck should be relaxed. If the hamstring and back of the body are flexible enough, the abdomen folds onto the thighs and the palms rest on the floor.

The Sanskrit name for standing forward bend is uttanasana. The variation where the hands are placed under the feet is called padahastasana.

Yogapedia explains Standing Forward Bend

Because of the powerful elongation of the back of the body, standing forward bend provides a strong stretch for the hamstrings and helps lengthen and stretch the spine. The inverted nature of the posture increases the blood supply to the head and brain. Like all forward bends, it is considered a calming posture. The posture may also help to build strength in the muscles of the legs.

Care should be taken in performing this posture by anyone with back, hip or pelvis injuries. For those with tight hamstrings or back injuries, gentler variations of the pose include performing it with bent knees or doing a seated forward bend instead. It can also be modified with different arm positions, including placing the hands on the back of the legs, blocks or holding opposite elbows.

The posture can be held for a few breaths, or up to one minute or more. Practitioners should exit the position slowly. This is particularly important for those with low blood pressure.

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