• Gentle stretch for the lower spine
  • Loosens the hamstrings and warms up the quadriceps
  • Compresses the stomach and internal organs
  • Builds strength in the diaphragm while providing a massage for the abdominal organs
  • Cures menstrual cramps


  • Avoid if you have high blood pressure. [1] Related conditions that are a problem when blood pressure is increased include diabetes and glaucoma. If you have these conditions you may wish to avoid this pose.
  • If you have low blood pressure, to come out of the pose, roll up to standing slowly or go into squat to avoid dizziness.
  • If you have a bad back, bend your knees a lot! You can also rest your elbows on the thighs.
  • If you have any lower back disorders which do not allow flexion of the spine, then do not allow the spine to round: keep the back as straight as you can and bend the knees a lot.

Getting Into the Pose:

  • Stand up, with the feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and fold forward. Clasp the elbows with the opposite hands.

Alternatives & Options:

  • Bend knees more, which will strengthen the quadriceps and release the back.
  • Rest elbows against a table, chair, or on the thighs if the back feels strained.
  • Caterpillar is an easy alternative; sit down with legs straight.
  • If you do this pose more than once, try it with legs bent the first time and straight the second time.
  • If you’re really flexible, try holding the wrists behind the legs but still with some rounding to the back.

Coming Out of the Pose:

  • Bend your knees a bit more and release your hands to the floor. Slowly roll up. This is often called Rag Doll.
  • You can place your hands onto your shins and come up halfway, then fold back down. Do this a couple of times, and when you feel ready, come all the way up with a straight back.

Counter poses:

  • Squat or any gentle backbend [2]

Meridians & Organs Affected:

  • Due to the intense stretch along the back of the legs and spine, the Urinary Bladder meridian is highly stimulated
  • Great for the liver, spleen, and kidneys. [3]

Joints Affected:

  • The Spine.

Recommended Hold Times:

  • Three minutes can be intense. Sometimes this pose is done in two or more sessions of two minutes each, separated by two minutes of Squat.

Similar Yang Asanas:

  • The yang version is known as Uttanasana, but in the Yin Yoga version the emphasis is not to stretch the hamstrings a lot, but rather to release the lower back. If the legs are straight, it is a nice stretch for the hamstrings, but there is some muscular effort needed. If the knees are bent, it is a great strengthener for the thigh muscles and allows the back to release more fully.

Other Notes:

  • Ensure the arches of the feet are lifting
  • Balance the weight between toes and heels. You can gently sway or wobble, but no bouncing.
  • Straight legs will stretch the hamstrings; bent knees will strengthen the thigh muscles.
  • It is more yin-like to bend the knees, bringing the chest to the thighs (you’ll receive a stomach massage, too).
  • Can intermix this and Squat. Eventually, hold both for four minutes or more in total.
  1. — Poses where the head is below the heart can increase blood pressure.
  2. — For example, Upward Facing Cat, lying on stomach, or, while sitting cross-legged with hands on the floor behind you, lift your chest and hips forward.
  3. — Iyengar, Light on Yoga.