By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
In Uttana Padasana, the practitioner raises both the legs from the supine position and hence the name. It is an intense stretch of the legs.
Uttana – Raised, upwards
Pada – Leg / foot
Asana – Pose
Other name – Extended Foot Pose
Read – Health Benefits Of Yoga: Mind And Body
Preparation for Uttana Padasana
- Uttana Padasana shall be preferably done early morning. If not possible you may do it in the evening.
- Pose is done on empty stomach.
- Eat your food 4-6 hours before doing the pose.
- Badder and bowel should be empty while doing the pose.
Read – Eka Padasana – One Leg Pose, Benefits, Synonyms, Side Effects
Method of doing Uttana Padasana
- Lie on the floor, facing the ceiling.
- Keep legs stretched, feet close to each other, tightly at the arches, toes facing upwards towards the ceiling.
- Keep upper limbs by the side of your body, close to it, palms down.
- Lift both legs in air as you inhale. While doing this keep the torso on the floor. Allow the lower back to arch slightly.
- Tuck your chin towards neck. Squeeze the thighs together and tuck your stomach in. Reach out with your toes such that the toes point the ceiling.
- The legs are approximately at an angle of 30 degrees from the floor. This is good at beginner level. If you get comfortable in the pose gradually and when you feel your body is flexible enough you can extend the angle to 45 or even 60 degrees.
- Be there for 4-5 breaths or for 30 seconds to 2 minutes or as you feel comfortable doing it. Repeat it for 8-10 times.
Release from the asana
- Gradually bring both your legs down to the floor simultaneously.
- Breathe easily and relax.
Variant – Starting the pose with one limb
You may start doing this pose with one limb, later with another limb and finally with both limbs simultaneously.
- Sleep in supine position.
- Lift your right lower limb gradually into the air without bending your knee. Hold it at 30 degrees and stay in the pose for a while. Gradually bring down your limb.
- Next lift your left lower limb and repeat the procedure in a similar way.
- Finally lift both the legs and perform the pose as explained above.
- Release and relax.
Note – Raising each single leg at a time rather than both at a time may be suitable for those who have lumbar issues or those who have had an abdominal surgery.
- Lift the torso off the floor to your point of comfort.
- Drop the head carefully so as to touch the floor.
- Keep both legs straight and together. Don’t bend your knees. Hold the breath for as long as you are comfortable.
- Release by exhaling and lowering your legs as well as upper body to the floor.
- Breathe easily and relax.
Read – Garudasana Eagle Pose, How to do, Benefits, Ayurveda View
- Lie supine on your back. Keep your feet together, hands beside your waist.
- Lift your trunk such that half of your body forms an arch. Support your body by head and butts. Touch the floor with top of your head.
- Raise your hands and bring them together such that both palms touch each other.
- Raise your legs to around 30 degree by putting the toes upwards, pointing the ceiling. Do not bend your knees.
- Stay here for a comfortable duration.
- Breathe normally.
- Release by bringing down your legs and hands.
Watch this video to follow the method of doing Uttana Padasana
Tips for Beginners
- Start doing the pose by raising one leg at a time
- If you are able to raise both legs, still start with small height (angle)
- Opens up the chest, contracts the abdomen and stretches the arms and legs simultaneously
- Increases flexibility of internal and external muscles
- Makes abdominal muscles flexible
- Stretches thighs, butts and hips
- Relieves stiffness in the lower back, back ache, pain in hips and joints.
- Relieves tension in shoulders, neck and throat
- Makes legs stronger
- Strengthens abdominal muscles
- Helps in losing weight and lower belly fat
- Bestows with flat stomach
- Removes fat around thighs and butts
- Strengthens nerves and spinal cord
- Enhances blood circulation to heart and neck
- Cures digestive and intestinal disorders
- Cures constipation and flatulence
- Prevents indigestion, acidity, constipation and flatulence
- It is a powerful exercise to release intestinal gases
- One of the best yoga poses for hernia treatment
- Calms nervous system, brings calmness to the body
- Helps to overcome nervousness
- Strengthens reproductive system
- Improves circulation in the body
- Calms down the mind
- Relieves stress and anxiety
- Improves self confidence
- Instills unconditional love
- Balances the navel, good for those suffering from naval displacement
Spiritual dimension – This pose is thought to
- ease feelings of irritation
- increases blood flow to the heart and neck, and hence opens up throat chakra
- opens up the root chakra and solar plexus
- encourages peace, love and self assurance
Read – Meditation By Watching Mind: Stages, Method, Benefits
Adho Mukha Shvanasana – Downward facing dog pose
- Eka Pada Uttana Padasana – Single leg raised pose
- Shavasana – Corpse pose
- Matsyasana – Fish Pose
Follow up Poses
- Sarvangasana – Shoulder Stand Pose
- Viparita Karani – Legs up the wall pose
Use a thickly folded blanket to support your head while doing this asana, especially if you have a neck injury.
Ensure that your spine is straight. This avoids injuries.
Starting to do the pose by lifting one leg at a time instead of both legs is called as Eka Uttana Padasana and is a good variant of uttana padasana. It also helps in preparing for uttana padasana.
Time spent in Uttana Padasana pose
Hold in the final pose (after lifting both legs) for about 15-20 seconds until you feel pressure in your lower abs. with practice you can hold to the pose for 1-2 minutes. Repeat this for 3-4 times daily.
Impact on Chakras
Uttana Padasana is one of the best poses for balancing Vishuddha Chakra i.e. throat chakra. Apart from that it also effectively balances the Manipura Chakra – Solar Plexus and Muladhara Chakra – Root Chakra. By balancing the root chakra it also enables awakening of Kundalini energy.
Read – Chakra – Kundalini: Introduction, Meaning, Types, Location, Ayurveda View
Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Uttana Padasana –
- High blood pressure
- Back, hip, knee or leg injury
- Those who have undergone abdominal surgery
Pregnant women should avoid this pose.
The pose also should not be practiced during menstruation.
Impact on doshas and tissues
Impact on Doshas – Uttana Padasana provides good remedy and prevention for digestive and intestinal disorders, and balances solar plexus, hence balances samana vata and pachaka pitta located in these organs. Since it relieves constipation, abdominal and intestinal gases and flatulence and also strengthens reproductive system and balances root chakra it balances apana vata. It enables good blood circulation to the neck and heart regions, balances throat chakra and hence balances udana vata and avalambaka kapha. It improves overall circulation in the body and brings calmness to the body hence good for balance of vyana vata. It calms the nervous system, good for nerves and spinal cord, relieves stress and anxiety, it balances prana vata and also the prana-udana-samana vata axis.
Impact on tissues – Since the raised leg pose stretches and strengthens the muscles and improves the flexibility of the body and joints of the body, it is beneficial for improving and maintaining the muscle health and also for channels carrying muscle tissue. Since it enhances blood circulation, it is good for rasa tissue and channels carrying this tissue. Raised leg pose also will help in reduction of fat tissue. Therefore it is beneficial for balancing fat tissue and also for fat carrying channels.