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. (Light on Yoga, p. 92)
The Uttanasana is the first posture in the immunity sequence, and, if practiced correctly, very powerful.
It helps to:
- Stretch and tone the entire back of the body.
- Cures stomach pains, including menstrual cramps.
- Tones the liver, the spleen and the kidneys.
- Because of the reversal of blood flow, the mind is refreshed.
- Relaxes the nervous system and reduces stress.
- Improves balance and coordination.
- Pacifies anxiety and depression.
Practice with the utmost care if you have chronic back pain or injuries to your ankles and knees.
Busting the Myths
In many yoga classes there is an emphasis on straightening the legs. Guess what? Your legs do not need to be straight. Read on for some practice pointers…
- Instead of focusing on straightening the knees at any cost, focus on lengthening the spine, as though you want to extend your head to the floor.
- Spread your soles firmly to the ground, distributing your weight evenly.
- Lift your hips up, as though the tailbone has to reach the ceiling. You will feel an extension on the hamstrings too.
- When you have a cold or flared up sinuses, you will feel very uncomfortable with your head hanging forward. Rest your head on a block or a chair and et viola! your Uttanasana feels good again. Same thing if you have vertigo or a fluctuating BP.
Stay tuned for more from our Yoga to Boost Immunity Sequence.
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