With spring right around the corner and it almost being one-fourth of the way through the leap year, we should only move forward to whatever is next.  Perhaps we could leap and spring straight into Uttanasana, a forward fold position.  Transition into it however you’d like, by making the jump or by walking your feet up the mat, as it does take some practice to master the art of springing forward with one swift leap.  But once you’ve shifted in your sun salutation from downward dog to Uttanasana, hold that fold.

Although this post has the Sanskirt prefix for “intense”, it’s hardly intimidating.  Uttanasana is a  rather rejuvenating and welcoming stretch for beginners as well aslong-time yogis.  There’s something satisfying about folding the body in half yet still holding ground with the feet, the crown of the head taking a momentary break as it dangles above the floor, inverted without holding any weighted pressure.  The shoulders take relief from supporting the head and the arms sway in free for all, with the choice to meet the toes or to trace circles around the feet.  This pose will make your spine feel divine, too!

Just make sure your bend forward from your hip joints, not the waist.  Joints are made for movement, so save your waist muscles for yogalates or another pose or practice that focuses on the abdomen!  But go ahead and draw the stomach muscles in as your inhale from the beginning in Tadasana, or Mountain Pose.  Keep your knees straight and hip distance apart and make sure you can spot your toes. As you bring your torso to meet your legs, feel free to grab your ankles or let your hands dangle.

The hamstrings will really feel this stretch.  Tightening up easily throughout the day, they should relax and release with ease just as much as every other muscle in your body.  You may be standing for it, but Uttanasana is a resting pose that helps calm the nervous system and can help relieve facial tension, headaches, a myriad of other stress-related problems.  So spring forward, hop, leap, or step your way into a forward fold any time you need some relief!

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