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Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Watch On YouTube: Forward Fold Yoga Pose
Be not the slave of your own past. Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.  –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Lets go swimming. Will you plunge in to a metaphorical pool of water with me? Come on! It will be cool. Don’t be too cool for my metaphorical pool.

Whether you are going in for a quick dip or committed to some serious laps I would like you to consider what needs to be done to get in the water. In Austin, TX we have a beautiful (really beautiful) spring fed pool that is 68 degrees year round. Barton Springs pool- voted best swimming hole in Texas (hi mom!) and a place of great solace for me among many others I am sure. Since I grew up in Austin I have had the privilege of meeting these cold waters since I was a child. Each time I walk my bare feet up to the edge I am flooded with possibilities, choices. I am distracted and attracted by so many things around me. The blue sky. The people that remembered their floats. A cute bathing suit - is that J. Crew? A kind smile. A breeze. A character. A baby. The blistering sun. The gal I sat next to in AP English. As little Adriene I remember leaping in. Over and over and over again. As a young teenager, I recall being absolutely fearful of jumping right in. Self conscious. You hear whispers of the “right way” to get in the pool. “Its better to just jump in!” “I have to move in slowly” “I’m gonna dive!” (Sound of whistle blows loud and long.) “No diving!” Then there is always that dude. That dude that thought it was cool and flirtatious to throw you in. I cannot say that I hate that dude because this is a yoga blog. But, I hate that dude.

In my adult years I have come to cherish this moment. The moment that I charge down the hill in my bikini following the momentum of my body down the steep hill. The moment that my feet hit the hot pavement and I approach the water. I enjoy observing those around me. I give out smiles and I feel confident in this moment. I look forward to meeting and greeting the cool water. How will I react today? I have only recently discovered that how I meet and greet that cold ass water is something to pay attention to. I see now that my internal state affects my experience of getting in the water. To get in- I simply- GET IN. To enjoy it, I listen to my heart. I make it fun. Some days I break the rules and DIVE IN! Other days I hop in holding the hand of a friend like in a hip romantic b rated movie. Some hot summer days I cannot get in fast enough. From time to time, I slowly walk in like a proud mermaid. (Merman! MerMAN!!!)

So what does need to be done for you to get in the water? Can you just jump in? Do you prefer to ease in? What do you need to start a yoga practice or to get back to one? What can you do to get over that hump and start enjoying life? Enjoying our work outs, our meditations? We all deserve to have a good time at the party.

If you are standing at the edge - watching this video- seeking an ease or a happier healthier body... lets jump in. Standing Forward Fold is a posture that I recommend you try. Swim with it. Dive in or take it slow but be mindful- internally.

When we practice supporting ourselves internally as opposed to externally we create a strong base for ourselves in that moment of decision. We create a strong foundation internally so that we are equipped to meet the external and handle the challenges of life or of other poses. It is through this internal support that we are also able to really reap the benefits of our practice. Remember the old adage, "Stop and smell the roses."

Uttanasana provides a great opportunity for immersion. We bring our focus inward. It is something you can do anywhere and a pose that will help you to develop a strong stabilizing foundation for other standing postures.

This pose is often overlooked and under enjoyed. Swim in this posture- especially if you are beginner and practice this fold once a day - at least as an experiment. How do you choose to meet and greet this posture? How can you internally support it?

Remember to breathe. Visualize your vertebre as you slowly move into the posture. Close your eyes and swim. Don’t get stuck in the external- you will sink. Keep moving. Find that liquid spine and swim in the sensations. You may not touch your toes on the first go- but give it time. Get in the pool. Hop on the mat. “Practice and all is coming”



  • Stretches the back, the hamstrings and calves
  • Reduces neck tension, stress and can relieve feelings of anxiety
  • Provides relief from headache and insomnia
  • Stimulates the liver, kidneys
  • Can be therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, IBS and allergies


  •  Practice against a wall for balance to check in with the lumbar spine. If you back up against the wall the and slip your hand between your lower back and the wall you will locate your lumbar spine. Against the wall supports the balance of the body but also allows us to make sure we are moving from the hips and not the waist.
  • For a deeper stretch in the backs of the legs you can prop you heels up on a folded blanket.



8 comments on “Forward Fold (Uttanasana)”

  1. I love your videos and blogs! I feel like I'm learning yoga from a friend. There's so much ease and simplicity in your explanations with little jokes tucked in between.
    Recently I've been feeling a lot of pain in my back to the point where it was almost locked and couldn't move at all. So naturally I was scared that bending down I might force that to occur again but letting my body hang loose it was the most amazing feeling I have ever gotten ! I've never done yoga before and I'm so glad I found you!
    Please open up a studio in Dubai! There are barely any here.
    Sending you love and sunshine !

    1. Thank you Rida! I am so glad for your back! How is it doing? A little bit of movement and breath can go a LONG LONG way. One walk around the block or one neck roll can seriously change my day in a major way. We are more powerful than we think- I am glad you are tasting that on your mat! Keep returning to the practice to find what feels good my friend- you deserve it. No back pain!
      I hope to visit you in Dubai some day! Till then!

      Much Love,

  2. Hi Adriene!
    I am a korean girl trying to start Yoga and found your video on youtube.
    My problem is that I am really really stiff!!!
    When I do Uttanasana pose, I can't even bend over 90 degrees without bending my knees.
    No need to say that my downward dog pose just looks ridiculous... 🙁
    My legs are like chunks of wood.
    This is also why I keep losing fun and interest in Yoga after a short while.
    But I feel crappy and stiff all the time so I really wanna do something about it and I keep coming back to Yoga.
    Can you recommend me a good way to stretch my legs?
    Love your videos by the way~ 😀

  3. Hi, Adriene. I know this a fairly old video, so I won't be surprised if there's no answer, but I'll be thrilled if there is!
    I had never really had a problem with this asana until coming to the foundation video, but now it is causing me knee, ankle, and foot pain. I'm really trying to keep my thighs spiraling inward like in tadasana, and practise four corner standing during the forward fold. Possibly trying too hard... Anyway, do you have any idea what I might be doing wrong, or how to counteract it?

  4. Enjoyed the videos today. How we carry ourselves is everything...Stand up tall. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for what is right! Then to swan dive forward. Go swimming. Find what feels good...When can I come to Austin and join you for a dip in the Barton Springs with you. Sounds amazing! Caught a quick glimpse of your dog. Is that an Australian Cattle? I had a really sweet Australian Cattle dog named the ice cream 🙂 She passed away after 13 years. They make great dogs!

  5. Just when I thought you couldn't be any cooler, I find the video where you make a Zoolander joke. Damn, girl. You win.

    Thanks for the awesome videos. You've helped me renew my practice and grow during a difficult time as well as made me laugh out loud along the way.

  6. Forward Fold perfectly explained! 5 months ago, I had a hard time getting into this pose without getting a little dizzy. But constant practice and following your instructions is like having a personal trainer right here in my home!

  7. Morning my friend. I am going through all the foundational poses as a refresher. So yummy. This one is not working: Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

    I have tried both under your foundation's link and searching online and it is freezing upon clicking in both places. Thought you would want to know.

    Roz - a friend and follower for many years.

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