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Standing Half Forward Bend

Ardha Uttanasana


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

Step by Step

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.

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.

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.

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Reader Comments


I love Yoga! Been at for about 4 years now. The only "exercise" I've ever started trying and never gave up on. I practice at least 4 times a week. There is one thing I will bet to differ on about weight. I have a tummy - I'm not fat per se, but I have a tummy and it does get in my way to doing a forward bend as deeply as I know I could if it wasn't there, and it gets in my way for other poses as well. But I DO NOT let it discourage me, because no matter what, because like I said, yoga has been the ONLY activity I haven't had to stop because it hurt me in some way. Too much walking, my hips hurt, step aerobics, my knees hurt, Zumba, everything hurt, yoga, ahhh! Nothing hurts! And I have improved so much over these 4 years and able to do poses I never dreamed I could do!


Yoga is terrific for losing weight! You're really in the "fat burn" in traditional yoga (not yoga-aerobics like at the gym). Don't get discouraged by the awkwardness of it at first. Many of my students have difficulty kicking their legs through from downdogs to lunges/warrior 1. You may just have to put the knee down of the leg your NOT kicking through, stablize yourself and set up for lunge or warrior 1. But, if all you do at first is down dogs to develop strength, flex and breath, you're on your way! Keep in mind, many people have trouble w/ the poses due to their proportions--i.e. long femur bones, short arms etc. --has nothing to do w/ weight. Everyone has a struggle; on the other hand, I really believe everyone has a pose they're naturally good at--just have to find it!


Hi Asther, you can also use the wall. Facing the wall, walk all the way towards it, then place your palms on the wall just above your hip bones, fingertips pointing up. Then walk yourself back until your body is at a right angle--legs perpendicular to floor and spine parallel. This will gently stretch the spine and hamstrings until you're comfortable going deeper.

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