Standing Forward Bend
March 27, 2015
Standing Split Pose
March 27, 2015

Standing Half Forward Bend

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Ardha Uttanasana
(are-dah Ooot-tan-Ahs-anna)
ardha = half / ut = intensity / tan = extend, stretch

BENEFITS

  • Strengthens the back muscles
  • Tones the abdominal muscles
  • Improves posture

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Back injuries
  • Hamstring injuries

HOW TO

  1. Ground through your feet, pressing your weight into the mounds of the big toe, little toe, and center of the heels.
  2. Firm your quadriceps and slightly rotate the inner thighs back. Bring your hips over your ankles.
  3. Extend your chest forward and your tailbone behind you to lengthen your spine. Draw your shoulders back away from your ears and spread across your collar bones.
  4. Place your fingertips in line with your toes or rest your hands on your shins.
  5. Lengthen the sides and back of your neck evenly. Bring your gaze approximately six inches in front of your toes.
  6. Engage your core.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

  • Bring feet hip-distance apart.
  • If your hamstrings are tight or you have a back injury, bend your knees.
  • Place hands on yoga blocks for support.

SEQUENCING TIPS

TEACHING CUES

  • Place your fingertips on your mat or on blocks.
  • Lengthen your spine and reach through the crown of your head.
  • Draw your shoulders back, away from your ears.
  • Breath across your heart space.

VARIATIONS

  • Deepen the hamstring stretch by placing the balls of the feet on a folded blanket.

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Rounding in the back
  • A student’s arms hanging without support under the fingers
  • A student shifting their weight back into their heels
  • Hyperextended or locked knees