Standing forward bend Uttanasana

The Sanskrit word uttana (pronounced oo-tah-nah) means "extended," and this posture certainly fits that bill. The standing forward bend (see Figure 7-2) stretches the entire back of the body and decompresses the neck (makes space between the vertebrae). In the upright posture, the cervical spine and the neck muscles work hard to balance the head. Because most people generally don't pay enough attention to this part of their anatomy, they tend to accumulate a lot of tension in their necks, which can lead to headaches. This posture frees the cervical spine and allows the neck muscles to relax. It also improves overall circulation and has a calming effect on the body and mind. The following steps walk you through the process.

Be very careful of all forward bends if you're having a disc problem. If you're unsure, check with your doctor or health professional.

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