How to Do Standing Half Forward Bend Pose in Yoga (Guide to Ardha Uttanasana)

The Standing Half Forward Bend pose is usually paired with Uttanasana or the Standing Forward Bend pose. This transitional asana is a part of every Sun Salutation sequence, and it also has some benefits on its own.

The pose will teach you how to elongate your spine in forward folds and can provide a deep stretch to the back and the legs. It helps to prepare your body for deeper backbends and will also get you in a perfect position to flow back into Chaturanga.

Although the Sanskrit name includes the word “intense,” be sure to keep the pose relaxing and comfortable. Your body will lengthen and strengthen with time and practice, so don’t overdo it by pushing too hard. You’ll get a deeper stretch if you relax more in the pose.

“The Standing Half Forward Bend pose is a fundamental pose to master in your yoga practice. We repeat it many times in sun salutations,” says Yoga Answered contributor Sara Popovic. “Although it’s quite simple, it also provides a great benefit for your yoga practice. It’ll teach you to find length in your back and practice deep forward folds with correct alignment.˝

Standing Half Forward Bend Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Ardha Uttanasana
Pose Type: Forward Bend Yoga Poses, Standing Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Beginner pose
Targets: Hamstrings, calves, torso
Benefits: The pose provides a deep stretch for the back of your legs and the front of the torso. With time, it can help you build a habit of maintaining a better posture with an elongated spine. As a forward bend, it stimulates your abdominal organs and can promote digestion and metabolism. When practiced as a part of Sun Salutations, it can also teach you to connect breath to movement.
Preparatory Poses: Mountain pose, Standing Forward Bend pose

How to Do Standing Half Forward Bend Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Begin in Standing Forward Bend pose.
  2. Root your feet in the ground  and come onto your fingertips. With an inhale, pull your belly in and lift your torso, so it’s parallel to the ground. Keep your spine flat.
  3. With an exhalation, pull your shoulder blades close to each other and palace your hands on your shins. You can also place them on the floor or a block.
  4. Keep your neck in a neutral position by looking slightly forward.
  5. Breathe slowly, and use this moment to connect to your breath.
  6. Once you’re ready to come out of the pose, return to Uttanasana. If you’re practicing the pose as a part of Sun Salutation, flow back into the Four-Limbed Staff pose.

Beginner’s Tip

Beginners tend to force touching the floor with their fingers. However, the main purpose of the pose isn’t extending the arms to the floor but keeping the spine as flat as possible. Place your hands on blocks or your shins to maintain a better and more beneficial form. You can also use a chair for support. If you have a tight lower back, you can bend your knees or place a folded blanket underneath the toes. Finally, make sure you’re folding from your hips instead of your lower back. To achieve that, place your hands on your hip bones and bend forward from that point.

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