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Benefits of Uttanpadasana (Raised Leg Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

By Dr. Ankit Sankhe +2 more

Introduction 

We all know the benefits of exercise; however, finding the discipline to start training and sticking with it is often challenging. Whether you are at the beginning of your fitness journey or somewhere in the middle of your health transformation, yoga might help you get started. In this modern world, yoga has taken its firm place in society. Many healthcare professionals have begun recommending yoga as a holistic way to improve various health conditions. It is cost-effective, and when combined with modern medicine, yoga may become a vital means of providing complete healthcare solutions for the public health system. Yoga consists of several asanas and postures that might benefit different areas of the body.1 In this blog, we bring one such Yoga pose, the Uttanpadasana pose. Let us learn more about Uttanpadasana benefits and more. 

uttanpadasana

Did you know?

  • Yoga interventions, including asanas like Uttanpadasana, have been shown to increase telomerase activity. source: PMC6134740
  • Regular practice of Uttanpadasana (Leg Raise Pose) can help improve telomere stability. source: PMC6134740

What is Uttanpadasana? 

Uttanpadasana is a traditional upward-facing yoga pose. In Sanskrit, Uttana means ‘raised’, and pada means ‘leg’; thus, Uttanpadasana is also called the raised leg pose. In the Uttanpadasana yoga, your legs are extended straight above the ground and held at a 90° angle. Uttanpadasana yoga pose might help with problems such as indigestion, constipation, diabetes and nervous exhaustion. This pose may create a balance between the navel region and strengthen the nabhimandal or the abdominal region.1 

You may practise Sarvangasana as a follow-up pose. Sarvangasana is a head-down body-up pose in which one lifts the trunk and legs above the head, supporting the body weight on the spine, arms and shoulder.1,2 

Uttanpadasana has two types: 

  • Ek pada Uttanpadasana- It is also called one-leg raised pose. In this asana, either your leg or right leg is raised upwards at a 90° angle to the floor. This may create an opposing tension between the legs giving an intense stretch to your legs and pelvis.2 
  • Dwi pad Uttanpadasana- It is also called two-legs raised pose. In this asana, both legs are raised above the ground at a 90° angle simultaneously. This may allow the toning and strengthening of abdominal and thigh muscles.2 

Let me tell you a secret! Uttanpadasana may aid in menstrual pain. Yes, you read it right. I recently read an article suggesting that the lower abdominal muscles are where the pain is most concentrated, and the motive of asana practice for pain relief is to achieve muscular relaxation by extending those muscles. From my perspective, the regular use of relaxation methods and yoga poses may lessen period-associated discomfort and irregular periods.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

How to do it? 

The following steps will assist you in performing the Uttanpadasana pose: 

  • Lie down straight on your back and focus on your breathing.  
  • Keep your hands on the sides with the palms facing downward. Keep your upper body relaxed.  
  • To start, inhale and slowly raise your legs at a 45° angle off the ground.  
  • Hold your legs for five to ten seconds to feel the pressure in your lower abdomen and legs.   
  • Now raise your legs at a 60° angle and hold for a few seconds. This targets the abdominal muscles. Do not put pressure on your arms and lower back. 
  • Finally, to complete the Uttanpadasana pose, lift both legs and keep them straight and steady at a 90° angle. This is Dwi pad Uttanpadasana pose. 
  • To return to starting position, slowly lower your legs back to the ground while exhaling. Breathing normally while gradually lowering your legs might help relax your posture.  
  • In the beginning, you may hold the raised leg pose for five seconds, and if you are comfortable, increase it to 30 seconds for better results, do it three or four times a day.  
  • To practise Uttanpadasana variations, try the Ek pad Uttanpadasana pose by raising either one leg at a 90° angle. 
  • If you experience difficulty raising the legs or maintaining them at 90°, slightly bend or lower your legs to release the pressure on the back.12 

Do You Know?  

Here are a few motivating facts about the Uttanpadasana yoga pose: 

  • At a spiritual level, Uttanpadasana might encourage peace and ease irritation as it opens up the Muladhara (root) chakra.3 
  • Uttanpadasana pose is believed to activate the throat or Visuddha chakra. In throat chakra, your neck might get lengthened.3 
  • Uttanpadasana might open Manipura chakra (solar plexus) associated with the willpower, energy and accomplishment.  
  • On June 2022, a group of 150 swimmers performed several yoga poses, including Uttanpadasana, on the waves of the Yamuna river on the event International Yoga Day.4 

In this 5G era, we constantly struggle to walk parallel to the fast-growing world. But with this, stress and anxiety has become a common complaint. From my experience, when Uttanpadasana collaborates with other yoga asanas, it may do wonders for our minds and overall health! Deep breathing involved in this yogasana adds oxygen to the blood flow and triggers the production of endorphins, which are organic substances that may energise and induce calm. I recently read an article which suggests that this yogasana may enhance the well-being, balance, spirit, determination, efficiency and output of individuals and organisations.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Benefits of Uttanpadasana:  

Uttanpadasana mainly targets the abdomen, legs and lower back might create a sense of balance in the body. Raised leg pose may also have the following benefits:  

1. Benefits of Uttanpadasana for Stomach Ailments 

A study by Salomi et al., 2022 found that  the daily practice of Uttanpadasana might help enhance the functions of the digestive system. As you perform the asana, your abdominal organs get massaged, improving their functions. It might help to make more digestive juices which might increase bowel movement and help remove waste from the body. This action might be beneficial in reducing various stomach ailments such as flatulence, indigestion, acidity and constipation. Thus, Uttanpadasana yoga might be recommended for people suffering from stomach-related digestive issues.1,2 If you have a constant digestive  problem, consult a doctor; do not rely on this asana. 

2. Benefits of Uttanpadasana for Abdominal Muscles 

The regular practice of Uttanpadasana yoga might make your abdominal muscles stronger. During this asana, your abdominal muscles are contracted, which may improve the toning. The Uttanpadasana pose may balance the navel centre and strengthens the abdominal muscles (nabhimandal).2 

3. Benefits of Uttanpadasana for Blood Circulation 

Salomi et al., 2022 suggested Uttanpadasana might help boost blood flow to your heart. While performing the Uttanpadasana pose, you lie down on the floor, which creates less pressure on your heart and blood vessels.A reduction in the constant pressure allows the heart to function more effectively. It might boost the circulatory system allowing a more effortless blood flow through the veins and heart.1 

4. Other Benefits of Uttanpadasana 

  • Uttanpadasana may help with the drainage of deoxygenated (used) blood from the legs. In the final position, the legs are under gravitational force, which may allow blood to flow towards the heart.2 
  • Walking long distances or standing for longer durations may cause varicose veins (swollen leg veins). So, lying down with legs raised upward, like in Uttanpadasana pose might allow blood flow to relieve the swollen veins.5 
  • The Uttanpadasana pose may stretch and strengthen the legs, especially the hamstrings.2 
  • It may help lower back pain due to the strengthening of the back and abdominal muscles.2 
  • It may create opposing strain in the pelvic muscles giving an intense stretch.2 

Yoga practice may help develop the body and mind; however, it is not an alternative to modern medicine. Therefore, you should not depend on yoga alone to treat any health condition. Instead, consult a qualified doctor who will assess your situation correctly and advise accordingly. Furthermore, it is essential to practice yoga under the supervision of a professional trainer to avoid injuries.  

Risks of Exercise: 

Uttanpadasana must be practised with a few precautions to avoid injuries, and the risks may include the following: 

  • Individuals with severe hypertension and insulin-dependent diabetes patients must not practise Uttanpadasana yoga as it may worsen the condition.1 
  • People with hip replacement or recent abdominal surgery should not practise raised leg pose as it puts a lot of pressure on the abdomen. Therefore, doctors’ advice is essential.2  
  • People with arthritis should avoid doing the Uttanpadasana pose as it may increase joint pain.1 
  • Women during menstruation and pregnancy should practise Uttanpadasana under the guidance of a yoga teacher to avoid further complications. 

With the supervision of a qualified yoga master, you may assess and analyse the risk factors and continue to practise Uttanpadasana yoga with precautions.

Also Read: Yoga for Constipation: Effective Poses for Digestive Relief 

Conclusion: 

Uttanpadasana is a traditional yoga pose in which the legs are raised above the ground and maintained straight up at 90°. It has two types namely, Ek pad uttanpadasana and Dwi pad uttanpadasana. This asana may benefit the abdominal muscles and create balance in the navel centre. I Relief in indigestion is probably the main focus of Uttanpadasana benefits. Regular practice may not only enhance bowel movement and blood flow but also may reduce lower back pain and strengthen the legs and hamstrings. However, practice the Uttanpadasana pose under the guidance of a trained yoga master for best results 

Also Read: What Causes Double Chin: Research-Based Insights

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What is Uttanpadasana yoga? 

Uttanpadasana is an upward-facing pose. The name is made of two Sanskrit words, in which uttana means ‘raised’, and pada means ‘leg’; hence, Uttanpadasana is also termed as the raised leg pose. In the Uttanpadasana pose, either one or both legs are raised straight upwards at 90° above the floor.1 

What are the types of Uttanpadasana pose? 

There are two types of Uttanpadasana yoga pose. One is Ek pad Uttanpadasana which is performed with one leg raised at a time and Dwi pad Uttanpadasana, which includes raising both legs at the same time and holding them at a 90° angle.1,2 

How many rounds of Uttanpadasana can be performed? 

You may perform Uttanpadasana yoga three or four times daily for best results. You may practise raised leg pose for five seconds, and if comfortable, you may increase the holding time to 30 seconds.2  

Which body parts are benefitted from Uttanpadasana yoga? 

Uttanpadasana may target the legs, hamstrings, abdomen and lower back muscles. An increase in the strength and flexibility of these areas may be seen with regular practice.2 

How does Uttanpadasana benefit the digestive system? 

Uttanpadasana might benefit the digestive system. It may produce digestive juices increasing bowel movement and allowing the waste excretion. In this asana, your abdominal organs may get massaged, which might relieve the stomach ailments such as flatulence, indigestion, acidity and constipation.1,2 

References: 

1. Salomi S, Kiranmayi P, Pentakota V, Vijayalakshmi P. Impact of Sarvangasana and Uttanpadasana on Hemodynamic parameters. Res J of Pharm and Techno. 2022;15(7):3029–33. Available from: https://rjptonline.org/HTMLPaper.aspx?Journal=Research+Journal+of+Pharmacy+and+Technology%3bPID%3d2022-15-7-28 

2. Yogapoint- Guide to Yoga Practices. [Internet]. YogaPoint India; [cited 2022 Oct 16]. Available from: https://www.yogapoint.com/pdf/Yogapoint%20Book%20of%20Practices.pdf 

3. What is Uttana Padasana? – Definition from Yogapedia [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 16]. Available from: https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/6338/uttana-padasana 

4. Swimmers perform Yoga in Yamuna – Times of India [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 16]. Available from: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/allahabad/swimmers-perform-yoga-in-yamuna/articleshowprint/92372902.cms 

5. Swami Adhyatmananda. Varicose vein [Internet]. Yoga and Health. [cited 2022 Oct 19]. Available from: https://www.divyajivan.org/yoga&health/varicose%20vein.htm 

  Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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