Uttanasana (pronounced OOH-tah-NAH-sah-nah) stretches the entire back of your body. It also tones your abdomen, decreases bloating, refreshes your mind, and clears your head. To accomplish this, you may have to bend your knees. As you become more flexible, you'll be able to grasp your big toes with your index fingers. For those who can fold in half, give yourselves a hug!
1. Stand with your feet together. Inhale and raise your arms overhead.
2. Exhale and bend forward at your hips. Bending at the waist will curve your back. Try to bend at the hip joint to keep the heart open as you move forward. Work toward touching your nose to your knees. Keep your knees straight unless your back hurts, in which case you can bend your knees.
3. Be careful not to rock your weight back to your heels. Keep your weight evenly distributed over your feet. Don't round your back or turn your feet out; instead,
bend forward from the hips, lengthening through the lower back. Don't force your head toward your knees—let gravity do the work as your head and neck stay relaxed. Don't be concerned with how far you bend. Focus on how open you can become as you "lift" forward.
The standing head to knees pose.
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