Standing half forward bend, or ardha uttanasana in Sanskrit, provides length in the torso to prepare you for standing forward bend (uttanasana) or for jumping back into chaturanga during sun salutations A and B.
Benefits of Standing Half Forward Bend (or Half Lift)
Also known as half lift or standing half forward fold, this pose opens up the chest and shoulders, elongates the spine, and activates the abdominal muscles. Since you are attempting to create a flat back, this pose also strengthens the back muscles, stretches and lengthens your hamstrings, and may improve your posture. Having your eyes focused intently toward the top of your mat, this pose may also help mental function, aid in focus, reduce stress, and calm the nervous system.
How to Perform Standing Half Forward Bend (or Half Lift)
1. Stand in mountain pose, with your big toes touching and heels slightly apart, so that your outer feet are parallel with the mat.
2. Reach your arms up overhead, turning the triceps forward so the palms face one another.
3. Slightly bend your knees and from the hips, fold your torso over your legs.
4. Place your fingertips or palms on the floor in line with your feet.
5. Shift the weight toward your toes.
6. Press your hands into your shins.
7. Lift your chest away from your thighs, straightening the arms.
8. Lengthen the spine and neck.
9. Engage the abdominals.
10. Draw the shoulder blades in and down the back.
Standing Half Forward Bend Pose Tips and Modifications
- If getting your hands to the ground is difficult in a forward fold, generously bend your knees and move the feet hip distance apart.
- If your hamstrings are especially tight, you can place your hands onto blocks by your feet.
- To make this pose harder, bring your hands from your shins to your toes while maintaining a flat back. Move the chest forward with a small arch in your upper spine while maintaining a long neck and engagement in the abdominals.