How This Helps

The forward fold is one of the standing yoga poses, like Cat and Cow, is a good pose to start your heart health practice with. It’s good for your heart mainly for its energetic effects – slowing down the breath and relaxing the nervous system.


Uttana is a Sanskrit word with different meanings like intense stretch, straight and stretched. In Uttanasana, you stand with your feet together and hinges forward from the hips while the head hangs and the palms reach out flat on the ground close to the feet. This pose is usually done with the intention of lengthening the back and stretching out the hamstring muscles. It is also considered an inversion since the head is lower than the heart, and thus blood flows into the head.


Step by Step Instructions for Forward Fold Pose - Uttanasana

1. Stand with your feet together or as wide as your hips. Raise your arms. Bend your knees slightly. Then, slowly bend forward and downward, bringing your arms down to the floor sending your torso down as well. Fold at the hips.
2. Keep the back straight as you go down, sending your bum up to the sky. Try not to lean back on your bum as you do this.
3. Make sure your lower belly and your chest are touching the tops of your thighs, like you’re lying your belly down on the thighs. If they’re far away from each other, slowly draw them closer by bending at the knees as much as you need to.
4. Bend your knees as much as you need to to comfortably hang your head and your arms.
5. If you’re more flexible already, bring the fingertips or hands on the floor and align the tips of your fingers with the tips of your toes.
6. Keep the core engaged and the belly tight to go deeper into this pose.
7. Stay here anywhere from 3 to 8 even breath cycles

Science and Research

A study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies done in 2012 studied different yoga poses, including a variety of forward folds. After four months, the participants in the study were observed to have lowered blood pressure, heart and respiratory rates.

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