How to Do the Standing Spread-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Pada Uttanasana) in Yoga

This Yoga posture, also called the wide-legged standing forward bend, stretches your hamstrings and your adductors (on insides of the thighs) and opens your hips. The hanging forward bend increases circulation to your upper torso and lengthens your spine. The Sanskrit word prasarita (pronounced prah-sah-ree-tah) means “outstretched” and pada, (pronounced pah-dah) means “foot.” Here’s how you do it:

  1. Stand in the mountain posture, exhale, and step your right foot out to the right about 3 to 3 1/2 feet (or the length of one leg).

  2. As you inhale, raise your arms out to the sides parallel to the line of your shoulders (and the floor) so they form a T with your torso.

  3. As you exhale, bend forward from the hips and soften your knees.

  4. Hold your bent elbows with the opposite-side hands and hang your torso and arms.

  5. Stay in Step 4 for 6 to 8 breaths.


Note: In the classic version of this posture, the legs are straight, the head is on the floor (and the chin presses the chest), and the arms reach back between the legs, palms on the floor.