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.
- 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.
- Begin in a standing forward bend (uttanasana).
- Inhale to reach your chest forward, lengthening the sides of your torso.
- Place your fingertips on the ground, or hands to shins.
- Bring your gaze to the ground in front of you, neck in neutral alignment.
- Hold the lifted pose for a couple breaths before exhaling back to forward fold.
- Wide-legged forward fold | Prasarita padottanasana
- High to mid plank | Chatarunga dandasana
- Ardha = half
- Uttana = intense stretch
- Asana = pose
- Stretches your hips, hamstrings, calves and lower back.
- Strengthens your thighs, core, and back.
- Warms your body.
- Engages the navel chakra, manipura.
- Increases confidence, willpower, and self-esteem.
Uttanasana: Standing Forward Bend
A soothing posture for body and mind, uttanasana (OOT-tan-AHS-ahna), or standing forward bend, is straightforward but far from simple. Requiring flexibility in hamstrings, hips, and calves, uttanasana also requires patience. Watch the ebbs and flows in your body and life reflected in this simple posture.
Philosophy + Origin
In uttanasana, knowing when to accept intensity and when to be content with where you are is key to steady progress without injury or frustration. It’s easy to try to push for more — with uttanasana, this means wanting to be more flexible or pushing further into the pose. Rather than struggling, use the posture to practice santosha (contentment). Can you accept both the intensity and your capacity right now?