Yoga Poses

Half standing forward bend Ardha Uttanasana

Steps

Half standing forward bend combines a standing pose with a forward bend. This is a foundation pose that prepares the body for deeper yoga postures. As a fundamental element of the Sun Salutation Series, this pose is favoured by Iyengar Yoga teachers for its back strengthening, posture improving properties. The Sanskrit name for Half standing forward bend, however, means, half intense stretch to the back, strengthening the

From standing forward bend press palms or finger tips into the floor. At the same time, lift the sternum up and away from the floor. Inhale to stretch the head crown away from the body. The back will arch slightly, but the torso and head should be in one line with the gaze forward. Exhale and release into the full forward bend. To exit the pose, roll or lift back to mountain pose.

 

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Imagine your hip bones are the hinges on a door. Place your fingertips on the hip bones as you quietly close the door to fold forward.  To lift halfway up, imagine slowly opening the door halfway. Work as much space as possible between tail bone and head crown.

Technical Comments

Ground the foot-soles; press all four corners of the feet into the mat. Lift the knee caps slightly or micro-bend at the knees, to lift the torso up. Press the thighs back as you stretch sternum and head crown forward. Engage the core muscles to hinge forward from hips, releasing into a forward bend. Keep weight on balls of feet. Bring hips over ankles.

Benefit Comments

  • Strengthens back muscles
  • Stimulates spinal nerves
  • Tones abdominal muscles
  • Strengthens thigh, calf and ankles
  • Improves respiratory function
  • Stretches hamstrings and quadriceps

Watch Out For:

  • Neck compression: keep gaze down or forward
  • Bending from back: hinge from hips
  • Tight hamstrings: bend knees

Contraindications

  • Sciatica
  • Back, knee and hip injuries

Modifications

  • Place hands on thighs or shins
  • Place buttocks against the wall
  • Place hands on wall, back of chair or blocks
  • For pregnancy: Widen hips far apart

Variations

  • Raise arms level with shoulders and parallel to ground
  • Place hands in prayer pose
  • Place arms in cow-face pose

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Standing forward bend
  • Downward facing dog
  • Mountain Pose

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet is a RYT 200 yoga teacher and journalist. More information about Brenda can be found at https://www.facebook.com/brendahamletyoga

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