Ardha Uttanasana: Half Standing Forward Bend

Ardha Uttanasana: Half Standing Forward Bend

An effective stretch for your hamstrings and calves ardha uttanasana (ARE-dah OOT-tan-AHS-anna), is often used during vinyasa sequences to connect the breath as you flow from one posture to the next.

Philosophy + Origin

One of the reasons ardha uttanasana is used so much in vinyasa yoga classes is that it positions the body for chaturanga dandasana. Because it engages the navel and core, it’s a powerful pose for warming up the body, which is why it’s included in warm-up sequences. Despite its sometimes transitory nature, the pose also engages the navel chakra (manipura), which can bring the practitioner increased confidence and willpower.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Place fingertips on the shins or blocks.
  • Place hands on a chair or wall.
  • Bend knees as much as needed to offer more space for the spine and lower back.
  • Although the name of the posture suggests “half,” it doesn’t mean that you must lift half way up. For some, even a quarter lift provides a powerful stretch for the backs of the legs without compromising alignment.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin in a standing forward bend (uttanasana).
  2. Inhale to reach your chest forward, lengthening the sides of your torso.
  3. Place your fingertips on the ground, or hands to shins.
  4. Bring your gaze to the ground in front of you, neck in neutral alignment.
  5. Hold the lifted pose for a couple breaths before exhaling back to forward fold.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

  • Wide-legged forward fold | Prasarita padottanasana
  • High to mid plank | Chatarunga dandasana

COUNTER POSES:

SANSKRIT:

  • Ardha = half
  • Uttana = intense stretch
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Stretches your hips, hamstrings, calves and lower back.
  • Strengthens your thighs, core, and back.
  • Warms your body.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Engages the navel chakra, manipura.
  • Increases confidence, willpower, and self-esteem.


Utkatasana: Chair Pose

Utkatasana: Chair Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

A challenging pose with hidden benefits, utkatasana (OOT-kah-TAHS-anna) works your body inside and out. Aside from strengthening your legs, this powerful pose also improves the health of your diaphragm and stimulates your heart. Practicing regularly will not only increase your physical endurance, it also encourages your chest and arms to open, creating more space in your body energetically.

Philosophy + Origin

While sitting in a chair is a common act for most of us today, chairs were once, and in some locations still are, considered a luxury. A throne in particular is a seat of power, one assumed by leaders around the world. The pose utkatasana, translated to mean powerful pose, invites individuals to sit on their throne, their seat of power. Embracing the challenge of the pose, and recognizing the strength that is generated when assumed thoughtfully and in proper alignment (physically and spiritually), you can begin to refine all aspects of your life, allowing yourself to step into roles of leadership and responsibility with clarity and confidence.

Read Article

More In Focus

Our unique blend of yoga, meditation, personal transformation, and alternative healing content is designed for those seeking to not just enhance their physical, spiritual, and intellectual capabilities, but to fuse them in the knowledge that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.


Use the same account and membership for TV, desktop, and all mobile devices. Plus you can download videos to your device to watch offline later.

Desktop, laptop, tablet, phone devices with Gaia content on screens

Discover what Gaia has to offer.

The video streaming platform exploring Focus, and Yoga Poses

Testing message will be here

Discover what Gaia has to offer.

Testing message will be here