Standing Poses

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) - Feet Wide

Level: All levels
Category: Standing Pose, Restorative

Uttana = intense stretch

This simpler expression of the pose, with the feet apart rather than together, will give you a chance to master the actions necessary to open the body up as a preparation for the more advanced standing forward extensions.

Organizing the pose

    • Come into Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
    • Inhale and hop the feet apart to Utthita Hasta Padasana (Extended Hands And Feet Pose).
    • Take the hands to the hips. Draw the shoulders back and down. Bring the elbows together behind the back and make the upper arms parallel. Lift and open the chest.
    • Inhale and take the head up and back.
    • Exhale and hinge forward over the tops of the thighs.
    • Either clasp the elbows or bring the fingertips to the floor outside the feet.
    • Press the feet down and stretch the thighs up. Lift the trunk up off the thighs and elongate up through the elbows.
    • Exhale and fold forward.
    • Hold the position for several breaths.
    • To come up, inhale and reverse the above sequence all the way back up to Tadasana (Mountain Pose).

Practice Points

    • Spread through the toes.
    • Keep the weight more in the toe mounds, with the heels a little light. This will ensure that the hips are stacked up over the heels.
    • Lift the kneecaps and draw the thighs up into the belly.
    • Soften the lower abdomen and groins.
    • Broaden the chest and collarbones.
    • Draw the arms down towards the floor.


    Uttnasana (very stiff)
    If the back is rounded as a result of the shape of the spine, or tightness in the back or hamstrings (see insert), then this pose should be modified or else it will not be of much use. Put the hands on blocks or a chair, or even on the wall, and focus on opening the chest out horizontally, at a right angle to the thighs.