Standing Half Forward Bend
Equipment: no equipment
Fitness level: beginner
Category: Yoga

(are-dah oot-tan-AHS-anna) ardha = half uttana = intense stretch
Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. From Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), press your palms or fingertips into the floor (or blocks on the floor) beside your feet. With an inhale, straighten your elbows and arch your torso away from your thighs, finding as much length between your pubic bone and navel as possible.
  2. With your palms (or fingertips) push down and back against the floor, and lift the top of your sternum up (away from the floor) and forward. You might bend your knees slightly to help get this movement, which will arch the back.
  3. Look forward, but be careful not to compress the back of your neck. Hold the arched-back position for a few breaths. Then, with an exhale, release your torso into full Uttanasana.
Sanskrit Name
Ardha Uttanasana
Contraindications and Cautions
With any neck injury, don't lift the head to look forward; otherwise same as those of Uttanasana
Beginner's Tip
If you can't easily touch the floor with your knees straight, support each hand on a yoga block set just outside each foot.
Stretches the front torsoStrengthens the back and improves postureStimulates the belly