Upward Facing Full Forward Bend Pose with 8 benefits & safety precautions

Urdva Mukha Paschimottasana – Upward Facing Full Forward Bend Pose

The Urdva Mukha Paschimottasana is one of the most important intermediate poses.Upward Facing Full Forward Bend Pose is an advanced asana, which is a part of the Ashtanga Primary series. Moreover, it is combination of Paschimottanasana and Ubhaya Padangusthasana, which is known to activate the Sacral chakra. The asana or Upward Facing Full Forward Bend Pose  is very intense and involves a long stretch. You will find your body to become very flexible, with regular practice. This fusion asana is known to improve the flexibility of the spine. Apart from stretching, you will also get the benefits of forward bending. 

Forward Bend Pose

The name has been derived from Sanskrit texts. The meaning of the asana is as given below. 

  • Urdhva means ‘upward’ 
  • Mukha means ‘face’
  • Paschim means ‘back or west’
  • Uttana means ‘intense stretch’
  • Asana means ‘pose’

Now, the meaning of the name must be evident. It is the Upward facing intense west stretch. 

How To Do The Asana?

You can do this asana or forward bend pose, if you have already crossed the beginner level. Read the steps as given below. 

  • You can begin the forward bend pose, by sitting in the Dandasana. 
  • Lie down on your back, very gently. Inhale and raise the arms over the head. 
  • Lift your hips, along with the legs. Straight upwards. If you want, you can hold the thighs with your hands, for added support. 
  • You have to catch the soles of the feet, with your palms. 
  • Inhale and further straighten your back. 
  • Exhale and roll the back muscles, to balance the body on your sitting bones. 
  • You have to create a balance at this point. Inhale and look upwards. 
  • Exhale and bring the torso closer to the legs. They should be touching one another. 
  • You have to bring your knees closer to the forehead and rest your chin on the knees, while looking upwards. 
  • You have to maintain the pose for 5 breaths. 
  • Inhale and slowly move the legs away from the body, while still gazing upwards. 
  • Exhale and release the hands and then bring the legs down slowly. 
  • Take a deep breath and relax in the forward bend pose. 

Modifications and Variations

If you have been practicing the forward bend pose for a long time, you will be flexible enough to do the asana or forward bend pose as per the guidelines mentioned. You can try out the modifications mentioned here. 


  • You can use the wall to support the body upwards. It is one of the most common modifications for senior citizens. Moreover, you can keep the legs or the feet adjacent to the walls. 
  • You can also use yoga ropes by creating a noose out of it. Hang them on both sides of the body. As you lie on the ground, you have to hold the noose with both hands, on either side. You should lift your legs upwards, with the help of the ropes. 

The Urdhva mukha paschimottanasana II is a supine version, that you can try out. The chin also rests on the knees in this pose. 

Additionally, you can also practice the Urdhva mukha paschimottanasana leg variation. It is done after reaching the final pose of the original asana or forward bend pose. You have to keep one leg perpendicular to the thigh. 

You have to engage in normal breathing. Stay for 5 breaths in the final folded upward pose. Your gaze should be towards the celling or legs or Urdhva Drishti or Padagraye Drishti. 

Safety Precautions Decoded

  • You should do the forward bend pose or asana very slowly. If you do it in a hurry, you may hurt your back muscles. 
  • Avoid the forward bend pose, if you feel any kind of stress and strain in your back muscles, knees, pelvis, or the hamstrings. 
  • You can do some of the preparatory poses, like the Navasana or Janu Sirsasana, before you get into this pose. 
  • You should not do this asana, on a full stomach. 
  • If any muscles feel tight, you should refrain from doing the pose. 

Who Can Do This Asana and Who Cannot?

If you have been doing asanas for a long time, and you have crossed the beginner level, then you can do the pose quite nicely. Otherwise, you need to keep in mind the following contraindications. 

  • This is basically a seated balance asana; therefore, you will feel a lot of pressure on the various parts of the body. If you have some kind of injury in the back, hips, hamstrings, or knees, you should not do this asana. 
  • As students, you should also inform the teachers, if you have had any kind of injury or surgery in the above areas. 
  • A lot of pressure is created on the abdomen and core muscles, when you do this asana. So, you should not do the asana, of you had any recent surgery. 
  • Women who are having their menses, must not practice this asana or pose. Women who are expecting, should also refrain from doing the asana. Senior citizens must not do this, without permission from the doctor. 
  • Anyone who is suffering from migraine, hernia, IBS, blood pressure, or skipped disc, you should refrain from doing the asana. 

Benefits of Urdva Mukha Paschimottasana

You will derive a huge number of benefits from the asana. They are as mentioned below. 

  • It strengthens the leg muscles, by giving a good stretch to the hamstrings, calves and glutes. This practice also increases the flow of blood within the body. 
  • It also enhances the spine flexibility. The rhythmic breathing directs the flow of energy through the spine and also elongates it. 
  • The asana also tones the arms. Your shoulders also get a deep stretch. 
  • This is a very intense body workout, that helps to burn extra fat in the abdomen, waist, and hips. 
  • Your digestion will also improve, as there is a lot of pressure on the abdomen, when you do the asana or pose. 
  • Your reproductive system will also get a boost. 
  • The asana also stimulates the endocrine system and improves many body functions. 
  • This asana also improves the sacral chakra’s functions. You will be able to enjoy and maintain better relationships, with others thereafter. 
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