UTTHAN PRISTHĀSANA (उष्ट्रासन प्रिस्थासन)
(OOT-ahn prees-thahs-anna)

1. Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your legs slightly apart, keeping your back straight, your shoulders and arms down, and your palms facing forward. Raise your arms above your head and then bend at the hips into a forward bend. Place your hands on the mat and slightly bend your knees.
2. Step your right leg straight back, in line with the right hip, and into a lunge. Keep your foot flexed so that it rests on the ball of the foot. Spread your toes to root down through the ball of your foot.
3. Your left foot should be pointed forward, with your knee stacked over your ankle, and your hips squared to the mat. Straighten your back and your back leg, being sure not to hyperextend your knee. Engage your core and quadriceps for balance.
4. Bring your arms over to the inside of your left foot and place your forearms on the mat so that both elbows are down. If necessary, move your leg closer to the edge of the mat to allow space to bring your arms to the inside of your left foot. Align your elbows under your shoulders and next to your left foot.
5. Focus on aligning your spine so that you have a straight line from the crown of your head down to your right heel. Extend through your right heel to lengthen your leg (be careful not to lock or hyperextend your knee).
6. Gaze down and slightly forward toward your hands. Sink into your hips, deepening your stretch, without losing the alignment in your spine and front knee. Make sure your front knee stays close to the body.
7. Draw your shoulder blades together, opening your chest, and broadening your shoulders.
8. Breathe deeply and feel the stretch throughout your back and legs.
9. Hold for several breaths (about 20 seconds to increase strength and flexibility) and breath smoothly.
10. When ready, release the pose and slowly come back to Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
11. Repeat on the other side.

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