This is our Yoga Asana 101, a series of introduction, instruction, benefits, and contraindications of basic yoga postures. In this series, we will write details about basic yoga asanas. We will write a post for a posture so that you have time to absorb, ponder and practice the particular asana we wrote about. Our introduction, instruction, benefits and contraindications are based on the traditional Hatha Yoga practice.
On our first post on the series, we are going to talk about Uttanapadasana or Stretched Legs posture lying down flat on our back.
Uttanapadasana or Stretched Legs posture is a basic yoga posture which is practiced while lying flat on floor on our back. In Sanskrit “Uttana” means proper and intense stretch and “Pada” means leg. Thus the name Uttanapadasana refers to a posture in which our legs are properly and intensely stretched and lying down flat on our back is the best position to practice this asana.
You should be nicely warmed up before practicing this asana. Thus, go for good rounds of warm up stretches like subtle and dynamic exercises first. After you are warmed up,
- Lie down flat on the mat on your back
- Keep your whole body grounded and relaxed
- Breathe in and out at your natural pace
- Keep your legs together
- Keep your hands close and parallel to your body palms facing downward
- Take 3 rounds of deep and long breaths
- Keep yourself relaxed and comfortable and prepare for the posture
- As you inhale deeply, raise your legs from the floor keeping them as straight as possible
- Feel a good stretch on your legs as you lift them up
- Once you raise your legs about a foot high from the floor, stop the lift and hold your legs there
- Engage your core to hold the legs firmly and at times make sure they are nicely stretched
- Rest of your body parts remain on the floor nicely and comfortably grounded
- Breathe in and out at your natural pace while holding your legs high
- Hold your legs up there as long as you feel comfortable. Once you start feeling uncomfortable, return back to floor gently as you exhale
- Repeat the process three times on each practice and try to stay as long and comfortably as possible
There are several benefits of practicing Uttanapadasana regularly. As the result of proper and intense stretch of legs, it is obvious that our legs get flexible, strong and at good health. But the asana does much more than just strengthening our legs. Practicing this posture on regular basis enhances the digestive power, helps prevent abdominal illnesses and boosts immune system. Practicing Uttanapadasana brings comfort in body and clarity of mind.
People with lower back pain or lumbar spondylosis should avoid this posture.
Other people can practice this posture on regular basis. However the repetition should not be more than 3 times in the beginning and should hold the legs as long as you feel comfortable. Pushing hard on yourself even when you are not comfortable can get you adverse effects.
Be gentle and careful to your body while practicing asanas.