Standing Forward Bend Pose - Uttanasana

Standing Forward Bend Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska


In Standing Forward Bend Pose or Uttanasana in Sanskrit (‘Ut’, means ‘intensity’ and the ‘Tan’, means ‘stretch, extend or lengthen out’)  the spine is given a deliberate and intense stretch. This yoga pose consists of standing with feet together, bending the upper body at the hips and letting the head hang downwards, and taking control of the body by placing the palms on the floor beside the feet.

This intense forward stretch of the upper body including the spine brings an indirect opening of the hamstring muscles. Standing Forward Bend Pose is considered a base pose as standing forward bend pose variations can be derived from this pose. Standing Forward Bend Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Relax the body in Mountain Pose taking a few deep breaths.
Step 2
Exhale and move your torso forward from the hips, not the waist.
Step 3
Continue to bend till your hands touch your feet. Take a few breaths.
Step 4
Stretch your hips and bend further (without straining the body).
Step 5
Place the palm of your hands by the side of your feet.
Step 6
Bring your forehead to your knees. Close your eyes and relax the body.
Step 7
Take deep and slow breaths. Hold the position for a few seconds.
Step 8
As you retain the pose, gently try to stretch the spine further.
Step 9
To move out of the posture. Inhale and lift the palms off the ground. Slowly straighten your body keeping the neck down. At last, straighten the head. Take 3 deep and slow breaths and relax the body to practice again.

Benefits and Contraindications


Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression

Stimulates the liver and kidneys

Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips

Strengthens the thighs and knees

Improves digestion

Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

Reduces fatigue and anxiety

Relieves headache and insomnia

Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, infertility, osteoporosis, and sinusitis


Back injury: Do this pose with bent knees, or perform Ardha Uttanasana (pronounced ARE-dah, ardha = half), with your hands on the wall, legs perpendicular to your torso, and arms parallel to the floor.


Hamstring or knee injury

High Blood Pressure


Photo poses in different angles

Modifications and Tips

  • If you need a seated practice, try seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana)
  • If your hamstrings are tight or you feel strain in your lower back, bend your knees slightly.
  • Try bending the knees more and resting the chest along the front of the thighs while you are folded forward.
  • More support can be found by using blocks or firm cushions to bring the floor up to meet your hands. Press your hands into these supports to create straight back while keeping the pelvis tilted forward (hinged forward from the hips).
  • Try practicing the pose with your feet hip-width apart to create more space.
    Instead of placing your palms on the floor you can hold the backs of your ankles.
  • Try crossing your forearms and holding your opposite elbows, and let your arms hang relaxed along with your head.


  • Remember this pose is NOT about touching your toes. The goal is anterior pelvic tilt – hinging forward from the hips.
  • Focus on lengthening the front torso rather than curving it in towards the legs.
  • Press your heels firmly into the floor.
  • Lift your sitting bones toward the ceiling.
  • Turn the tops of your thighs slightly inward.
  • Let your head hang relaxed.


  • Standing Forward Bend on a chair
  • Standing Forward Fold Pose Variation Knees Bent
  • Half Bound Lotus Standing Forward Bend Variation
  • Half Standing Forward Bend with blocks
  • Big Toe Pose
  • Revolved Half Forward Fold Pose Against Wall
  • Half Forward Bend Pose Block Under Feet

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.