Standing Half Forward Bend Pose ardha uttanasana, may look like just bending over, but it’s a little bit more involved than that. You’ll find this pose as part of a sun salutation and a pose you’ll come into during every yoga practice. 

Benefits: 

Stretches the front body, strengthens the back, and stimulates the belly. 

How to:

  1. Begin in standing pose, tadasana with your feet planted into the mat roughly hip distance apart. 
  2. As you inhale, create space in your spine, perhaps even taking a backbend if you feel like that is right for you.
  3. As you exhale, slowly fold yourself forward, bringing your hands to the floor or to your shins, whatever you are able to reach. 
  4. On the next inhale, slowly lift your torso up about halfway, being sure to flatten out your spine as you engage your core. Your hands can stay on the floor, on your shins, or gently grazing your feet. Take a soft bend in your knees, being careful not to lock out your joints. Keep your gaze towards the ground, keeping your spine more or less neutral.
  5. You can hold this pose through the exhale, or release into a full forward fold. 

Modify it:

Use blocks under your hands for a little extra support as you come into this flat back half forward fold. As you’re getting comfortable in this pose and learning what your body feels like in various positions, it helps to stand parallel to a mirror and watch your form until you can recognize the right alignment without a mirror.

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