Ardha Uttanasana, also known as Standing Half Forward Bend, stretches the entire backside of the body, especially the legs and lower back.
One reason for Ardha Uttanasana (Standing Half Forward Bend) in Vinyasa Yoga Classes is so much that it positions the body for Chaturanga Dandasana. Because it engages the navel and core, it is a powerful yoga pose to warm the body, which is why it is included in warm-up yoga sequences. Despite its sometimes transitory nature, the pose also engages the manipura (navel chakra), which can increase the confidence and willpower of the practitioner.
|Also known as:||Standing half forward bend, Ardha Uttanasana, Flat back pose|
|English:||Standing half forward bend, Flat back pose|
|Sanskrit:||अर्ध उत्तानासन; Ardha Uttanasana|
|Focus:||Back, Hamstrings, Calves|
|Total Time:||60 seconds|
|Drishti:||At shins; Closed|
|Counter Poses:||Bhujangasana, Salamba bhujangasana, Matsyendrasana|
|Preparatory Poses:||Uttanasana, Phalakasana, Tadasana|
|Sequential Poses:||Prasarita padottanasana, Chatarunga dandasana|
Benefits of Ardha Uttanasana
Ardha Uttanasana (Standing Half Forward Bend) insist on lengthening the spine, making the blade pull the shoulder backward, and further expand the heart center, drawing the sternum forward toward the horizon. Present and demonstrate options for bending the knees, moving the fingers, and/or keeping the hands upward. All these options help to fully extend the spine. As yogis have developed flexibility in the hamstrings and hips, they have to cue their feet to keep the ground and legs strong, cultivating a more stable foundation that lengthens the spine.
- Strengthens the feet, knees, and thighs
- Stretches the hamstrings and calves
- Improves the function of digestive and reproductive systems
- Opens the hips and groins
- Stimulates the liver, kidneys, and digestive system
- Relieves menopausal discomfort, headache, insomnia, and fatigue
- Alleviates discomfort from sinusitis
Step by step Ardha Uttanasana (Standing Half Forward Bend)
- From the forward fold, lift your torso until your flat back is parallel to the ground. Place your hands on the front of the legs. Inhale, pull in your abdomen and use your back muscles to support your torso and keep your spine straight.
- Maintain the length through your spine from your head to the tailbone.
- Pull your shoulder blade away from your ear and gaze forward.
- In mountain pose, with feet slightly apart, breathe several times before lifting upward and resting.
Step-2: Wrist Stretches
It is important to warm up the wrist before engaging in most yoga poses; Many require you to bear weight on the wrist. The following are some basic wrist stretches and warm-ups that you can use to prevent injury and increase flexibility:
- Get down on the hands and knees; Place the hands directly on the shoulders and the knees above your hips. Fold your hands in such a way that your palms are facing upwards and your fingers are towards your knees. Inhale and moving slowly, turn your body slightly inward. Exhale and slowly back away. Repeat this motion at least four times.
- Stand tall and stretch out your right hand in front of you while keeping your palm facing down. Relax your wrist, letting the fingers to drop-down. Use your left hand to palpate these fingers and gently pull them back towards your body.
- Press the hands against each other as if you were praying. Slowly bring your hands down until you feel the stretch. Hold the stretch for 10–15 seconds, then release. Repeat.
- Hold the elbows against your sides with each hand in a soft fist.
- Keeping your elbows against your sides, move the wrists in a figure eight motion. Continue this motion for 10 to 15 seconds, then relax and repeat.
Step-3: Neck And Shoulder Stretches
Stretching the neck and shoulder area before doing yoga is equally important. Here is a great way to lubricate and smoothly move your neck and shoulder joints:
- Start in a sitting position, keeping your shoulders down and your spine straight.
- Keep your hips on the floor, inhale and reach your arms up so that your fingers point to the sky.
- Exhale as you move your left ear towards your left shoulder and gently bring your left hand down over your head to gently stretch your neck to the left.
- Inhale, straighten your head, and raise the arms to the sky again.
- Repeat the previous motion but to the right.
- Inhale as you reach your arms up and lock your fingers together to push the palms towards the sky.
- Exhale as you bring your interlocked palms down to press on the back of your neck while you move your chin toward the chest.
Step-4: Pelvic Tilt
- Finally, it is important to warm up the lower back before engaging in yoga.
- Your spine literally supports the rest of the body, so it is extremely important to warm up the surrounding muscles before engaging in any yoga activities.
- Pelvic tilt can help loosen your spine, especially if your back is stiff.
- To perform a pelvic tilt:
- Lie on your back and bend the knees.
- Push your lower back into the ground, tilt the pelvis up, then release.
- It is ideal to repeat the pelvic tilt for at least 15 repetitions.
Tip: Another great spine warm-up stretch for yoga is the cat cow’s stretch.
Contractions of Ardha Uttanasana
As always, it is best to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise, workout, or yoga routine. In general, Ardha Uttanasana is a comfortable posture most people can safely do as long as they are using good form. However, people with certain conditions must be mindful during their yoga practice.
- Pregnant women may need to stand up to widen their legs to avoid contractions of your abdomen. Nothing is more comfortable than deep folding. In the later stages of pregnancy, do not be afraid to leave the posture if it is not comfortable for you.
- People with sciatica or other lower back, try to bend your toes to make the posture more comfortable.
- People at risk of balance problems or falls, use assistance (such as a chair, wall, or another person’s physical support) to prevent injury.
- If people are hurt or recovering from surgery involving your neck, bending forward with a straight back can usually be done until you lift your face to look forward.
Was this article helpful?
Written by Anjali Kumari. She is a certified yoga instructor, Diploma in Make up, Nails and Beauty, Diploma in Nutrition, Food, Science and Menu Planning. Anjali is the destination of choice for the latest updates, tips and resources in beauty, health and wellness, and all topics that mean the most to today’s woman. Whether it’s advice from a trusted expert or a DIY tutorial, she has it all. She is passionate and obsessive about science and how it can be applied in daily lifestyle. According to her, food is the best medicine and proper nutrition is the key to achieving good health and beauty. When she is not working, she likes to spend quality time with family and friends. She loves creating innovative, healthy recipes and healthy choices for foods to promote good health.