Ardha Uttanasana, or half standing forward bend pose is an alternative to those who might have back problems. The Ardha Uttanasana pose is good for meditators and people who sit a lot. It helps stretch out the back. Instead of bending towards the floor, bend halfway to a ledge, like a windowsill or countertop. Arms are out in front of you resting on the ledge. Your torso is parallel with the floor. Your legs are still perpendicular to the floor. Don’t lock your knees. If it feels good, bend them slightly in the pose which will make it less intense.
Practice of Ardha Uttanasana
- Stand facing a wall, about 6 inches away, with your feet parallel and hip-width apart. Place your palms on the wall just above waist level.
- Inhale, and as you exhale, begin to walk your feet back, bending at the hips so they stay over the ankles and your torso is parallel to the ground; you’ll form an upside-down L. Keep your back flat and your neck long.
- Press through your feet, firm your quadriceps to lift your knees, and begin to pull your thighs back. You’ll feel the stretch in the hamstrings and the lower back. Hold for 5 to 7 breaths.
- To come out of the pose, bend your knees slightly, walk back toward the wall, and stand up.
Benefits of Ardha Uttanasana
- Stretches the entire backside of body, especially legs and lower back;
- Elongates the spine and rejuvenate the spinal nerves;
- Massages and tones abdominal organs, kidney, liver and spleen;
- Increases blood circulation to legs, torso and brain and provides nourishment to the facial skin, scalp, eyes and ears;
- Beneficial for those suffering from anxiety and mild depression by calming and oxygenating the brain and revitalising the nervous system.
- Ardha Uttanasana stretch could be the cure for your hiccups.
- Because getting the spine flat is the most important aspect of this pose, you may need to bring your hands to your shins or thighs instead of the floor to remove the curve from your back.
- It’s best to avoid placing the hands directly on the knees as this may compromise the joint.
- You may also use blocks on the floor under your hands if you prefer.