Pose of the Week: Uttanasana

Saturday, 11 May 2019 19:01
This week’s pose is UttanasanaUt= intense Tan= stretch, extend, lengthen out. Asana= posture or pose. As BKS Iyengar says in Light on Yoga : “In this asana, the spine is given a deliberate and an intense stretch.” (p.65).
It is a standing forward bend.
Geeta Iyengar in Uttanasana in Yoga - A Gem for Women (1983)
When we first start yoga one of the gauges of how we are progressing is how easily (or not!) we can touch the floor.  Sometimes (perhaps to add to the humiliation!!) we place a block or blocks under the head. This is given as a support to rest and quieten the brain.
In fact, BKS Iyengar says “The heart beats are slowed down and the spinal nerves rejuvenated. Any depression felt in the mind is removed if one holds the pose for two minutes or more. The  posture is a boon to people who get excited quickly, as it soothes the brain cells. After finishing the asana, one feels calm and cool, the eyes start to glow and the mind feels at peace.” (Light on Yoga p.66) 

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? But like all asanas it takes a long time to get to this point of quietening. (See last week’s blog on Kapotanasana.) Between now and then we work at getting the legs completely straight and firm. We learn how to draw up the knee caps and firm the quadriceps, and then to maintain it. We learn to take the torso down without pulling on the sacrum and the hamstrings. We cannot use force. The use of force is the ego driving the asana. The ego causes a struggle. The asana needs to involve a passivity in the brain and an activity in the muscles. 
Although there is activity in the muscles there is no unnecessary muscular tension. This brings serenity to the mind. You cannot experience peace if there is an unending struggle in the body. In Light on Life, BKS Iyengar, provides some hints: “Begin your asana by releasing the breath till you feel a quiet state of silence in the cells and self. Inhalation is tension, exhalation is freedom. All movements should be done with exhalation. Exhalation purges the stress and tension of the body.” (p.37)
Breathe out, relax and go down…
Enjoy a full immersion of Iyengar Yoga - Sunday 19th May - 8.30am - 2pm (includes brunch). Book your place now: 
See you on the mat:)
Nicole Schroeter 
Certified Iyengar Teacher
Yoga Path
Learn Iyengar Yoga, undertake Certified Iyengar Yoga Training with Nicole at Yoga Path today. Register you interest today
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