Who would have thought that a (relatively) simple pose, like the Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend, could work and stretch various different muscles in the body? In this pose, the joint actions are hip flexion, knee extensions, and mild spinal flexion. For people with tighter hamstrings, there will be more spinal flexion.
The key muscles that are engaged/shortened are Vastus Intermedius (thigh area), Lateralis (knee extensors), while the Spinal muscles, Hamstrings, Posterior Fiber of Gluteus Medius and Minimus, Gluteus Maximus , Piriformis, Adductor Magnus , Soleus and Gastrocnemius are lengthened.
Some benefits of Uttanasana:
- Relieves tension in the spine, back and neck
- Reduces stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue
- Calms the mind and soothes the nerves
- Reduce headache and insomnia
- Stimulates the kidneys, liver and spleen
Don’t be too quick to reach for your toes. Allow your body to sink deeper gradually and naturally. If you want to fold deeper, you can try to bend your knees first to find space in the hip joint, and allowing the spine to release, and getting your thighs and belly to touch. After that, you can slowly straighten both knees, keeping both thighs and belly as close to each other as possible.
200 hours YTT Jan