Utthita namaskarasana is a more challenging variation of malasana, which helps to release the muscles of the hips and stretch the backs of the legs.
Traditionally, utthita namaskarasana is believed to activate the muladhara (root) chakra. Opening the muladhara provides stability and grounding, helping the yogi to feel more connected to the earth. Working with this chakra is associated with the most basic human needs and instincts. When this chakra is activated, the yogi feels secure, and able to worry less from day to day.
As a modification for this pose, the hands can be placed on the ground, or yoga blocks may be placed under the hands for increased accessibility.