Uttana padasana is an intense stretch of the legs. The terms comes from the Sanskrit uttana, meaning “intense stretch,” pada, meaning “leg” or “foot,” and asana meaning “pose” or “posture.”
To enter the pose, lie on the floor backside down and raise the hands over the head. Keeping the feet together tightly at the arches with toes pointed towards the ceiling, lift both legs in the air on an inhale, keeping the torso on the floor and allowing the lower back to arch slightly, if needed. The chin should be tucked towards the neck. For the advanced practice of this pose, lift the torso off the floor to whatever degree is comfortable, dropping the head carefully to touch the floor, if possible. For both the beginner and advanced variations of this pose, keep the legs together and straight, holding the breath for as long as is comfortable (do not bend the knees). To exit the pose, exhale and lower the legs as well as upper body, if practicing the advanced version, to the floor.
Uttana padasana is also known as raised legs pose in English.