Half Standing Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana) pose is an essential element of a typical sun salutation and helps to stretch and rejuvenate the spine and legs. Practicing Half Standing Forward Bend pose mindfully by linking the movement with the breath can serve as a reminder to find length with every inhale and surrender with every exhale.
Benefits of Half Standing Forward Bend Pose
Half Standing Forward Bend pose offers a lovely, lengthening stretch for the backs of the legs, including the hamstrings and calves, and stretches the front torso and low back. The pose also strengthens your thighs and spine, and prepares the body for deeper forward folds. Practicing Half Standing Forward Bend pose can help to stimulate the abdominal organs, improving digestion.
Half Standing Forward Bend Pose Step-By-Step
- Begin in a standing forward fold (Uttanasana), with your feet separated hip-distance apart and your knees bent as much as you need in order to take any tension out of your low back. Take a few breaths here, allowing your upper body to be completely heavy.
- With an inhale, lift your torso up halfway to find a flat back, and either place your fingertips on either side of your feet, or place your palms on your shins or upper thighs.
- Straighten your arms and lift your torso away from your thighs, finding an even sense of length between your front and back body.
- Reach your chest forward and draw your shoulderblades together and down onto your back.
- Send your gaze slightly forward to lengthen the back of your neck. Take 3 deep breaths here.
- To come out of the pose, exhale to release back into your forward fold.
- Think about leveling out the upper back and creating length along the front torso from the pubis to the sternum. Keep as much of a bend in your knees as necessary to mitigate any tightness in the low back or legs and prioritize having a flat back over having straight legs.
- For those with tighter hamstrings, using blocks placed just outside each foot to support the fingertips can assist with finding more length along the legs and the spine.
- This pose can also be practiced against a wall, either facing away from the wall or with your hands against a wall in front of you.
- If you have a neck injury, keep your gaze down toward the floor as opposed to lifting your head and sending your gaze forward.