Asanas – Poses – Day 8 – Malasana – Garland Pose – Krampusnacht

Happy Saturday Yogis! We just wrapped up practice of each of the Niyamas, and we are now on to Asanas, the 3rd Limb of Yoga. Today is the first of the holidays I get to discuss for our special Holiday month, and we will cover a festive Asana Malasana or Garland Pose, often referred to as a “yoga squat.”

Holiday Yamas Practice Schedule

We will start early next week by counting down the 5 Yamas with 5 days of Ahimsa (non-harming), 4 days of Satya (truthfulness), and 3 days of Asteya (non-stealing). Then we will have a full week of Brahmacharya for the week of Christmas in the United States.. a time that I will enjoy the focus on moderation! We will focus on a different way to practice each of these Yamas each day.

PS sorry to our far eastern Yogis especially in Australia – I am changing our morning posting time to 9am Tokyo Time which is 12am universal RSS time for our app. If you would like to receive posts earlier in the day for your time zone, please contact me!

Holiday Season – Krampusnacht

Krampus!

We are celebrating a special Yamas / Interpersonal Ethics focused month. December is the holiday season for many worldwide nations, cultures, and religions, so this ties in with most other holiday seasons our Yogis may celebrate. I will continue my nerdy research through the month and tie in our practices with world holidays if they tie in with our daily practices… please contact me if you have any requests or suggestions!

Today is the first holiday for this season I am going to share – Krampusnacht! I have been into world history and traditions for many years, and Krampusnacht is the most amusing holiday to me.. partly because of the name “Krampus” which makes me giggle. This holiday is seriously like the Nightmare before Christmas!

Krampusnacht is celebrated primarily in Bavarian mountain towns the evening before St. Nicholas Day. This is a different European Christmas tradition than we are familiar with in the United States. St. Nicholas Day, celebrated earlier in December, is the day for gifts from St. Nicholas or Father Christmas – for only good children. The bad children do not get coal… they were either stolen, eaten, or scared straight by the monstrous Krampus the evening before!

I am guessing with this terrifying holiday, areas celebrating Krampusnacht have the best-behaved children in the world. I tried to make my Malasana picture a bit scary today for the Krampus theme!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try today’s Asana – Malasana or Garland Pose. This pose is great to counter sitting at a desk all day!

Malasana – Garland Pose

Malasana – Garland Pose

This is a deep hip opener – make sure to practice a bit before attempting this pose! This seemingly simple pose is a journey pose, and you will begin to move your torso forward as your chest and hips open with practice!

  • Start standing in Tadasana / Mountain Pose.
  • Step your feet out a bit wider than hip-distance, and turn your toes out 45 degrees.
  • Bend your knees and slowly come into a full low squat.
  • Bring your arms forward between your knees, and bring palms together into a prayer position, pressing elbows into thighs.
  • Press gently into thighs and bring your chest forward.
    • Take note of your head and neck – keep in line with your torso
    • Take note of where your weight is in your feet, both front to back and side to side. Keep even side to side, and keep most weight in your heels.
  • Hold this pose for as long as comfortable while taking deep breaths into any tension you feel in your hips. Begin with holding 30-60 seconds, and work up to 3-5 minutes!

If you have tight hips and knees, or have trouble balancing here, you may want to sit on a block for support.

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This page contains affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

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Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried this Asana before? Is this your first time learning about Krampusnacht? Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Day 6 – Supta Kapotasana – Reclined Pigeon Pose

Good morning Yogis! We just wrapped up practice of each of the Niyamas, and we are now on to Asanas, the 3rd Limb of Yoga. Today we will cover my absolute favorite hip opener and one of my favorite Asanas – Supta Kapotasana (SOUP-tuh kah-poe-TAH-sa-nuh) or Reclined Pigeon Pose.

Bonus Daily Meditation Challenge

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October! For Asana Day today, our meditation is a Guided Meditation on Releasing and Letting Go as we will be doing physically with today’s Asana!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try today’s Asana – Supta Kapotasana or Reclined Pigeon. This pose is great for lower back pain, and especially for sciatic nerve issues.

Supta Kapotasana – Reclined Pigeon Pose

This is a deep hip opener – make sure to practice on both sides! There are many Kapotasana or Pigeon Pose variations. This is considered the easiest version, but I find it the best and most versatile. I enjoy moving my legs around a bit to find and target different tight spots in the hips.

  • Start laying on the ground face up in Shavasana – Corpse Pose. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground.
  • Begin with your right foot on top – bring your right ankle to your left knee, making your legs into a figure 4.
    • If you are a new Yogi or have very tight hips and already feel a stretch.. stay here! Breathe deeply into your hips in this pose.. I find new male Yogis may need to practice this for up to a year before being comfortable enough to move into the full expression of this pose below!
    • If you are staying here in Ardha Supta Kapotasana or Half-Reclined Pigeon Pose, hold this pose for as long as comfortable while taking deep breaths into any tension you feel in your hips. I usually hold 30-60 seconds per side in my regular practice.
    • Switch your legs so left leg is on top, and repeat on the other side.
Ardha Supta Kapotasana – Half Reclined Pigeon Pose
  • Reach your hands around your leg and clasp around your left knee.
  • Exhale and hug your left knee in towards your chest. Breathe deeply into your belly and hips, and let your hips and lower back release.
  • Hold this pose for as long as comfortable while taking deep breaths into any tension you feel in your hips. I usually hold 30-60 seconds per side in regular practice. I occasionally hold this Asana for up to 5 minutes, moving my knees closer or away from my chest, or side to side slightly to target problem areas.
  • Switch your legs so left leg is on top, and repeat on the other side.
Supta Kapotasana – Reclined Pigeon Pose

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

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You may want a couch pillow, or perhaps a folded-up blanket for extra support under the head.

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Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried the half or full version of this Asana before? Always remember, be kind!

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Virgo Season – Goddess Pose

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Utkata Konasana – Goddess Pose

Good morning Yogis! Our Challengers are taking a break from the Sun Salutations pose breakdown for Sitali Pranayama, a cooling breath we covered on the Summer Solstice! If it’s as hot where you are as it is in Colorado today, you may want to try some Sitali again today!

Today is the start of Virgo Season – Happy Birthday Virgo Yogis! We will cover two Asanas today inspired by Virgo – Utkata Konasana / Goddess Pose and Supta Baddha Konasana – Reclined Goddess Pose.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try the Goddess Asanas inspired by the start of Virgo Season!

Utkata Konasana – Goddess Pose

This Goddess Pose is a standing pose. The literal translation from Sanskrit is Fierce Angle Pose, so try to embody a fierce warrior Goddess for this pose! Only come down as far as you are comfortable! Hold for 30-60 seconds.

Feet – Feet should be about 3 – 4 1/2 feet apart, flat on the mat. Turn your toes out to point 45 degrees out to each side.

Legs and Hips – Bend your knees to come into this pose. The full expression is with thighs parallel to the ground, but only come down as far as is comfortable. It is more important to keep your knees over your ankles than to have a deep bend in the leg! Try to keep your hips neutral, but try to keep your booty tucked under rather than sticking out.

Torso – Keep a straight back. Take note of your rib cage. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open.

Arms – Cactus your arms – hold arms up with elbows at 90 degree angles, fingers spread, and palms facing forward.

Head and Neck – Keep your head in line with the rest of your torso, looking straight ahead. Note where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders.

Supta Baddha Konasana – reclined goddess pose

This Asana is called both Reclined Goddess Pose and Reclined Bound Angle Pose, the literal Sanskrit translation. This comfortable passive stretch is a common pose for Restorative Yoga! You can place a couch pillow under the knees, head, or upper body for support. You can place a cushion or block just below your shoulder blades for a more advanced chest-opening. I try to work this pose in near the end of nearly all my longer Asana practices.

Supta Baddha Konasana – Reclined Goddess

Feet and Legs – Your legs should be turned out and feet together. Let your knees fall to the ground, as far as is comfortable.

Hips – Hips should face up to the sky. Take note of your booty – it should be almost tucked under rather than sticking out.

Torso and Head  – Let your back rest or even sink into the ground comfortably in this Asana. Look straight up, and rest your head comfortably on your mat, or perhaps on a pillow.

Arms – Raise your arms above your head on the mat as is comfortable. Keep your shoulders down. Either grab each elbow, or perhaps cactus your arms out to the side.

Check out our Top 5 Yoga Mats and Equipment for Newbies!

You may want to try a block, couch pillow, blanket, or bolster to help yourself find a comfortable seat.

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

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Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This page contains affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.

Please comment and let us know how Goddess pose was for you! Did you try both Asanas? Do you want to share an Asana inspiration for your sign’s pose? Always remember, be kind!

Tag @dailyyogi.world with your Goddess Pose Pics on Instagram!

YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee – Utkata Konasana
YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee – Supta Baddha Konasana

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Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are completing our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today we are covering Adho Mukha Svanasana, possibly the most popular and famous traditional Asana, that comes to mind when we think of Yoga.

The final Asana to introduce in this series is Adho Mukha Svanasana (AHD-ho MOOK-ha Sva-NA-sa-NA) / Downward Facing Dog. Today we will be performing our Sun Salutations series first with two ways to come into the traditional expression of this pose, and then try a more challenging version.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side, working on the correct alignment for this pose. Since this pose can be difficult for those with tight hamstrings and heels often do not reach the floor for new Yogis, our focus will be Santosha / Contentment again, and accepting and being gentle with where we are on our journeys. Jump to today’s variations!

Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog

Feet – Your feet should still be about hip distance apart. However, your feet will flip and you will end with the balls of both feet on the mat, reaching your heels towards the mat. You can bring your feet a bit closer in to help your heels start reaching the mat. It is very difficult for heels to reach the mat when hamstrings are very tight, so be gentle with yourself in this pose, and perhaps walk your feet in or walk the dog into this pose as described below.

Legs – Keep your legs straight and make sure you do not hyperextend your knees. It may be helpful to bend one knee then the other a few times to “walk the dog” and work work into the pose.

Hips – On the EXHALE you lift your hips up to the ceiling/sky to come into this Asana. Try to keep you hips pointing up and back, as you lightly press your chest back towards your thighs to deepen this stretch.

Arms – Keep your hands spread, middle fingers pointing forward, shoulder distance apart. Press into the mat and keep your arms straight, and keep your shoulders pressed down away from your ears.

Head and Neck – Keep your head and neck neutral, and either close your eyes or gaze gently down at your mat.

Adho Mukha Svanasana Variations

The first round, from Bhujangasana / Cobra, come up into Table Top with knees bent and shins flat on the mat hip distance apart, and hands directly below shoulders and middle fingers pointing ahead. On an EXHALE, press your hands into the mat and lift your hips back to come into Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog. Perhaps “walk the dog” into the pose by bending one knee and then the other, to help loosen each leg and work into the pose. Take a couple of full inhales and exhales here, before bringing your LEFT foot forward to come back into your lunge and complete the Sun Salutation on both sides.

“Walking the dog” into Adho Mukha Svanasana

The second round, from Bhujangasana / Cobra, flip your toes, press into the mat, and lift your hips to come straight into Adho Mukha Svanasana without coming through Table Top. Take a full inhale and exhale here, and complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

The last round, we will try a more challenging expression of Adho Mukha Svanasana. Come back directly into Adho Mukha Svanasana as in the last round. Now, lift your LEFT leg straight back to come into three-legged down dog. HOLD your leg up here for 10 seconds, pressing both hands and your standing foot into the ground. On an INHALE, bend your LEFT leg and bring your LEFT knee straight under to your chest. Come all the way through and plant your LEFT foot on the mat in front of you, getting your balance as you come directly into your lunge. Continue on to complete the Sun Salutation Series on both sides, making sure to raise your RIGHT leg next time.

Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana – Three-Legged Down Dog

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Please comment to share your experience with this exercise or any questions! Do you prefer coming through Table Top or straight into Adho Mukha Svanasana? Have you tried “walking the dog” before? Always remember, be kind!

YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee – Adho Mukha Svanasana

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Bhujangasana – Cobra

Good morning Yogis! Did you know today is International Yoga Day?? Let’s all make sure we get on our mats and practice today! That is my plan, as we continue our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today we are covering Bhujangasana, Sarpasana, and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side. We will progress from the Phalakasana / Plank portion of the series down to the mat, and breath back up again. Since back bends can cause injury, our focus will be Santosha/Contentment again, and honoring and being gentle with our bodies.

The traditional Asana in this series is Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (ORD-hvah MOOK-ha sva-NA-sa-NUH) / Upward Facing Dog Pose, but I typically prefer practicing with Bhujangasana (BOO-jawng-GA-sa-nuh) / Cobra. Today we will be performing our Sun Salutations series first with two versions of Bhujangasana, and then try with the full expression of the traditional Asana in the series. Jump to today’s variations!

Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose

Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose

Feet – Your feet should still be about hip distance apart. However, if your toes are still tucked, you should release and lay the tops of your feet down on the mat.

Legs – Keep your legs straight and laying flat on the mat if coming into Bhujangasana / Cobra. We will talk about legs for Urdhva Mukha Svanasana/Upward Facing Dog a bit later.

Hips – Keep your hips grounded and even on the mat to come into Bhujangasana / Cobra. That is the main difference between Bhujangasana and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, two very similar poses.

Arms – Keep your hands spread and right under your shoulders as you lower from the Plank portion of the series to come into Bhujangasana. Keep your elbows back and tucked close to your body, and forearms on the floor. On the INHALE you may press the hands and arms lightly into the ground as you raise your chest from the mat into a gentle back bend.

Head and Neck – Keep your head and neck neutral, and either close your eyes or gaze gently ahead. If you are comfortable with back bends and want an extra stretch along your front, you may gently lift your chin a bit at the peak of the pose.

Variations – Sarpasana – Snake Pose & Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog Pose

The first round, from Chaturanga Dandasana or knees-chest-chin we lower down to the mat, making sure our hips and legs are flat on the mat and our hands are under our shoulders with forearms laying flat on the mat. Now, lift your forearms from the mat, and lift your torso up off the mat as you INHALE into Bhujangasana / Cobra. This is a great way to see where is safe to work from if you are a new Yogi to avoid injury. Take a full exhale and inhale here before pressing into your hands into the mat on an exhale and moving on to Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog and complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

Bhujangasana – Cobra
Lifted Forearm Variation

The second round, from the Phalakasana / Plank portion of the series we will lower down to the mat for Bhujangasana, with hips and legs flat on the mat. Now INHALE and lightly press your hands into the mat as you raise your torso while keeping your hip bones grounded into the mat, perhaps a little bit further than last time without your arms. Take a full exhale and inhale here before moving on an exhale to complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

Urdhva Muhka Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog

The last round, we will try a full expression of Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. Come down to the floor, but this time move your hands further down, close to your ribs rather than under your shoulders. Press up and lift your torso and your hips off the ground, until you are supported on the tops of your feet. If you are not able to come into the full expression of this pose, be gentle and just come into a deep Bhujangasana. Or, to get a deep chest stretch without a deep back bend, grasp your hands together behind your back, thumbs to bum, and INHALE up into Sarpasana / Snake.

Sarpasana – Snake Pose

For your own practice, I would recommend evaluating where you are with both honesty and compassion. Do not push yourself in these back bends! Work your flexibility slowly, and you will be surprised in the changes that come over time.

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Please comment to share your experience or any questions with this exercise! Have you tried this “no hands” Bhujangasana / Cobra before? Did you try Urdhva Mukha Svanasana / Upward Facing Dog or Sarpasana / Snake? Which was your favorite gentle backbend? Always remember, be kind!

YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee – Bhujangasana
YOGA TEACHERS – see more on Tummee – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

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Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge – Sun Salutations Poses – Surya Namaskar Asanas

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today we are covering both Anjaneyasana and Ashta Chandrasana.

Anjaneyasana (AHN-jaw-nay-YA-sa-nuh) or Low Lunge is part of the traditional Sun Salutations. Warning – DO NOT perform Lunge with your back knee resting if you have an injury, or perhaps try a blanket or pillow for extra support under your knee, or get an extra cushioned mat. Today we will first break down High Lunge or Ashta Chandrasana (AHSH-ta chan-DRAH-sa-nuh), cover how to come into Low Lunge, and perform these lunges a couple of different ways during our continued Sun Salutations practice. Ashta Chandrasana literally translates as 8 Point Moon or Crescent Moon Pose, and Anjaneyasana translates to English as Son of Anjani Pose, and has a very cool mythology.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side. We will try three different variations of lunges with our three repetitions. We will go back to working to incorporating Diaphragmatic Breathing and try to get a “flow” with one deep inhale or exhale for each pose. Jump to today’s variations!

Ashta Chandrasana – High Lunge & Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge

Ashta Chandrasana- High Lunge Variation

Feet – We will start with RIGHT foot facing forward. Keep your right foot grounded and pointing straight ahead. Step your left foot straight back 3-4 feet, and ground the ball of your foot into the ground and make sure heel/foot is pointing straight back to come into HIGH LUNGE.

Legs – Make sure your front/right foot is directly above your ankle, and front/right knee is bent at about 90 degrees. If you are staying in High Lunge, your back/left leg should be completely straight, pressing back through your heel. If you are coming into Low Lunge, you can slowly rest your back knee and shin on the mat.

Hips – Make sure the points of your hips are both facing straight forward, and you are not twisting to one side or the other. Try to make sure you are tucking your hips/tailbone under, not sticking your booty out.

Torso – Take note of your rib cage. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open.

Arms – Evaluate where you are in this pose, and arms will be placed accordingly. If you do not feel stable or this pose is new for you, keep your hands on your hips. There are many possible arm variations for this pose. If you feel stable, raise your hands above your head on the inhale, making sure to keep your shoulders down away from your ears.

Head and Neck – Keep your Check where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders. Either gaze straight ahead, or look up between your hands if you feel comfortable.

Variations

The first round, come into Ashta Chandrasana / High Lunge with your hands on your hips. Inhale your arms up above your head with palms facing each other if you feel comfortable, and notice this challenging balance rising into High Lunge after Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend. Perhaps take a full inhale and exhale here to work your balance. Exhale your arms down to each side of your feet, and perhaps pause in Runner’s Lunge before continuing on to Phalakasana / Plank, and complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

The second round, step left foot back and slowly rest knee and shin into Anjaneyasana/Low Lunge if you feel comfortable with the pressure on your knee. If this is not comfortable on your knees, please try a blanket or pillow for extra support under your knee, or stay in High Lunge again this round and perhaps try a twisted variation. Make sure your front knee is above your ankle, and either keep your back foot supported on the ball of your foot or lay the top of your foot flat against the mat if you are in a Low Lunge. Inhale your arms up and take a full inhale and exhale here. Notice how your body feels in High Lunge vs Low Lunge, and the deeper stretch along your back thigh before continuing and completing the Sun Salutation series on each side.

Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge

The last round, we will try an advanced Low Lunge for those up for a challenge. Come into a deep Anjaneyasana / Low Lunge if you feel comfortable with the pressure on your knee. This time, raise your hands above your head put your palms together on the inhale, and if it feels right, allow yourself to come into a gentle backbend and gaze up at your hands. PS perhaps try to cactus out your arms as suggested by one of our commenters – I have added this to my morning Sun Salutations Routine! Enjoy this deep stretch in your chest and thighs, and breathe try to breathe into any tight spots in your hips.

Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge with gentle back bend

fIND YOUR FLOW

I switch up my sun salutations in the morning… I usually do the traditional Surya Namaskar sequence with high-lunge in the morning while my dogs are outside so I can get in a couple rounds quickly without a mat. When I use my mat, I usually do a longer version using low-lunge with the support of my mat, adding Ardha Uttanasana or Half Standing Forward Bend at each Uttanasana, and sometimes adding an extra Phalakasana or Plank since I am working on arm strength. You can check out both of my flows below!

Check out our Top 5 Yoga Mats and Equipment for Newbies!

Consider a blanket or pillow for extra support under your knee, or get an extra cushioned mat!

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This page contains affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.

Please comment to share your experience or if you have any questions! What did you think of this exercise? Which version of Lunge did you prefer with your Sun Salutations? Always remember, be kind!

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Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend – Sun Salutations Poses – Surya Namaskar Asanas

Uttanasana - standing forward bend pose - yoga pose yoga girl wearing black doing yoga outside in the rocky mountains
Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our detailed breakdown of each of the poses in the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today we are covering Uttanasana.

Uttanasana (OO-ta-NA-sa-na) or Standing Forward Bend is the Asana / Pose that will always be special to me, since it helped me to finally touch my toes! Today we will break down the traditional expression of this pose, and perform a couple of different ways during our continued Sun Salutations practice.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to again perform the traditional Asana series – Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations Series. Today, we will do the full series three times on each side. We will try three different variations of Uttanasana with our three repetitions. We had been focusing on breathing the last couple days. Today, since we are working on a challenging Asana, we will focus on bringing Santosha / Contentment to our Asana practice and accept where we are today without judgement. Jump to today’s variations!

Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend

Uttanasana - standing forward bend pose - yoga pose yoga girl wearing black doing yoga outside in the rocky mountains
Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend

Feet – Your feet will stay grounded in the same spot as they were in Tadasana / Mountain Pose. Make sure your big toes are touching. If possible, make sure the back of your heels are touching. If you have a lower back injury like I do, you may find it easier to keep the heels slightly apart. Claw your toes into the mat slightly to keep your arches from falling into the mat.

Legs – Make sure your legs are comfortably straight. Perhaps keep a slight bend in the knee, or a deeper bend if you have very tight hamstrings. Always make sure you avoid hyper-extending or locking your knees in this pose!

Hips – On the EXHALE, you bend from your hips, not from your waist. Try to lift your hips/seat towards the ceiling.

Torso – Notice your bending is from the hips, not the waist. Try to focus on working your chest towards your thighs, rather than focusing on getting nose to knees.

Arms – Evaluate where you are in this pose, and arms will be placed accordingly. If you have space in this pose, you can place your palms on the ground, and press down into the ground slightly. If you have tight hamstrings and are working into the full expression of this pose, wrap your hands behind knees or shins, wherever is comfortable, and help yourself lightly pull your chest towards your legs.

Head and Neck – Keep your neck neutral, and allow your head to hang gently.

Uttanasana Variations

The first round, come into your standard Uttanasana / Standing Forward Bend. On the next inhale, straighten your knees, press your hands into your legs/shins/ankles or perhaps a block, and straighten your back into Ardha (ARD-ha) Uttanasana / Standing Half Forward Bend. Exhale and fold back into Uttanasana. Inhale and continue into your lunge, perhaps pausing in runners lunge, and complete the Sun Salutation series on each side.

Ardha Uttanasana - half standing forward bend pose - yoga pose forest yogi girl wearing black pants and bright hooded yellow sweatshirt, outdoors yoga in the woods
Ardha Uttanasana – Half Standing Forward Bend

The second round, come into Uttanasana with your knees bent as much as necessary to completely rest your chest on your thighs. Tuck your chin, grab your ankles with your middle fingers pointing down to your heels, and wrap your forearms so they are as close to parallel behind your calves as possible. Now inhale, and slightly lift your hips. Take another inhale and exhale here, before moving on to lunge and complete the Sun Salutation series. OMG right?? This is a VERY deep hamstring stretch I learned in Hot Yoga, that will help you progress deeper into the traditional version of this Asana.

The last round, come into a comfortable Uttanasana for you, either traditional or with your chest resting on your thighs. This time, cross your forearms and grab each elbow/arm with the opposite hand to come into Rag Doll Pose. Hang for a couple breaths here, and breathe try to breathe into any tight spots in your hips.

Uttanasana - standing forward bend variation rag doll - yoga pose forest yogi girl wearing black, outdoors yoga in the woods
Uttanasana – Rag Doll

Check out our new video for some variations of Uttanasana including an extra chest-opener!

Modifications

This is a great pose to try with a block or two, especially if you cannot reach the ground! Flip the blocks to the proper height to adjust for a parallel back in Half Standing Forward Bend, and a folded fully into Uttanasana!

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Please comment to share your experience or if you have any questions! What did you think of this exercise? Which version of Uttanasana did you prefer? Always remember, be kind!

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