Standing Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana)

Ardha Uttanasana, also known as the standing half forward bend pose, focuses mainly on the muscles in the back and the abdomen.

It is very beneficial in increasing the flexibility of the spine and the leg muscles.


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Standing Half Forward Bend Steps :

  1. From the Uttanasana pose (standing forward bend), press the fingertips or palms firmly into the floor besides the feet.
  2. While inhaling, straighten the elbows, and arch the torso away from the thighs. Try to maintain as much length as possible between the navel and the pubic bone.
  3. Now with the fingertips or palms against the floor, lift the sternum forward and away from the floor. You can bend your knees slightly to get this movement right. This will help arch the back.
  4. Look forward but do not compress the back of the neck. Hold this arched posture for a few breaths and then release slowly while exhaling.
  5. Release the pose into the Uttanasana position.

Standing Half Forward Bend - Precautions :

  • People suffering from sciatica should keep their legs wider apart (more than hip width) while practicing this posture. The toes should be turned inwards and the heel outwards.
  • People with neck injuries should not lift their neck and look forward. It is advisable for them to keep looking at the floor.
  • People with back injuries should practice this pose with their knees bent or with their hands on the wall for support.

Beginner’s Tip for Standing Half Forward Bend :

  • If you find it difficult to touch the floor without bending the knees, use a yoga block for support on either side of your feet.
  • To maintain the spine straight, use a wall for support or place your hands on the thighs or shins instead of the ground.

Benefit to Body Parts :

  • The standing half-forward bend pose stretches and strengthens the spine and helps improve body posture.

  • It strengthens the back muscles and stretches the torso.
  • It stimulates and strengthens the muscles in the abdominal region.
  • It improves overall body balance.
  • It stretches the hamstrings as well as the quadriceps.
  • It also helps stretch and strengthen the muscles in the neck, shoulders, knees, ankles, and toes.

Therapeutic Applications :

  • Ardha Uttanasana is helpful in treating stomach pains, and toning the spleen, kidneys, and liver.
  • It also helps relieve abdominal pain experienced during menstrual periods.
  • It eases the symptoms of conditions like asthma, headaches, insomnia, and menopause.
  • It improves digestion and helps in lowering high blood pressure.
  • It also has therapeutic benefits for problems like sinusitis, osteoporosis, as well as infertility.
  • It is beneficial in reducing anxiety, depression, stress, and mental fatigue.

Variations :

People who are not comfortable practicing this pose can use the following variations to simplify this posture.

  • If the back or hamstrings are tight, you can bend your knees slightly.
  • If you can’t touch the floor with your knees straight, place your palms on the thighs or the shins.
  • You can use a wall for additional support to maintain a straight spine.
  • Instead of keeping the hands stretched out forwards in this posture, you can even stretch those outwards away from the sides of the body to maintain better balance.

Preparatory Poses :

  • Standing Forward Bend Pose (Uttanasana)
  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Follow Up Poses :

  • Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
  • Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana)
  • Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
  • Wide Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
  • Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)
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