Half Standing Forward Bend  -Ardha Uttanasana

Step by step

  • Start in Standing Forward Bend / Uttanasana.
  • Root down through the feet, inhale draw the belly in and up and with a straight back come up on to your fingertips - use your back muscles to lift you.
  • Create length through the spine from the tailbone to the top of the head.
  • Draw the shoulder blades away from the ears.
  • Look forward slightly keeping the back of the neck long, opening the front of the chest.

Tips for beginners

  • If your fingertips don't easily come to the floor place your hands on your shins, or on blocks, or bend your knees.
  • To experience the extension of the spine you can try the pose with your hands flat against a wall (or a chair) in front of you so that you arms are by your ears and your body is parallel to the floor.

Benefits

  • Extends the spine.
  • Develops flexibility in the hips and hamstrings.
  • Strengthens the back and legs.

Watch out for

  • Keep the knees bent slightly if you have issues with your lower back.
  • Don't lift the head if you have neck injuries, keep your gaze to the floor or just slightly ahead.
  • Legs should be strong and active but avoid locking the knees.

Variations

  • Try the pose with the hands in prayer position and the back parallel to the floor to work the core more.
  • Turn it into a twist by placing your right hand on the floor under your face and raising your left arm. You can also bend the right knee a little.