Ut is a particle indicating deliberation, intensity. The verb tan means to stretch, extend, lengthen out. In this asana, the spine is given a deliberate and an intense stretch.
1. Stand in Tadasana (Plate 1), keeping the knees tight.
2. Exhale, bend forward and place the fingers on the floor. Then place the palms on the floor by the side of the feet, behind the heels. Do not bend the legs at the knees.
3. Try to hold the head up and stretch the spine. Move the hips a little forward towards the head so as to bring the legs perpendicular to the floor.
4. Remain in this position and take two deep breaths.
5. Exhale, move the trunk closer to the legs and rest the head on the knees. (Plate 25)
6. Do not slacken the grip at the knees, but pull the knee-caps well up. Hold this position for a minute with deep and even breathing.
7. Inhale and raise the head from the knees, but without lifting the palms from the floor as in position 3.
8. After two breaths, take a deep inhalation, lift the hands from the floor and come back to Tadasana. (Plate 1)
This asana cures stomach pains and tones the liver, the spleen and the kidneys. It also relieves stomach pain during menstrual periods. The heart beats are slowed down and the spinal nerves rejuvenated. Any depression felt in the mind is removed if one holds the pose for two minutes or more. The posture is a boon to people who get excited quickly, as it soothes the brain cells. After finishing the asana, one feels calm and cool, the eyes start to glow and the mind feels at peace.
Persons who feel heaviness in the head, flushing or any discomfort while attempting Sirsasana (Plate 90), should do Uttanasana first; then they will be able to do Sirsasana (the head stand) with comfort and ease.
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