The Half Forward Bend pose (Ardha Uttanasana) is also known as the ‘Flat Back pose’. In one sequence of Surya Namaskar or sun salutation, this pose is done twice and hence, it is important for any yogi. A standing posture, it is also a preparatory pose for Forward bend. Even though its name translates to intense forward bend, this is a relaxing yoga pose and considered very good for seniors.
It is a good pose for stretching the hamstrings, reducing belly fat and aligning the spine (back). The pose is highly effective in toning the back of thighs, calves and strengthening knees. Apart from getting you rid of belly fat, it also exerts a calming effect on our nervous system. While you have a much flexible spine right after the class, regular practice leads to stronger bones and lower risk of osteoporosis.
Getting in the pose
What you need: Room with fresh air (if you’re doing it inside, otherwise do it in open area), and you.
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Drishti or Gaze: While performing this pose, concentrate your gaze in front.
- While you get into the starting position, inhale deep and spread your legs shoulder width apart. Inhale as you extend your arms high up in air, parallel to each other and stretch up.
- Gradually, lower them, bending your back at right angles in attempt to touch the floor. Ensure that your back is not curved.
- Hold the position for 15-30 seconds as a beginner. Later you must hold it even longer, say a minute or more.
- Gently exhale and revert to the starting position.
- Do it twice in a practice along with other poses.
If you feel exerted, rest in Corpse pose.
- Iyengar yoga: Here, the weight of upper body is supported on bricks or wooden blocks to complete the pose. Gradually, the height of block is reduced.
- Alternatively, this pose can also be done by lying on back or with a belt. Lie down on your back and lift one leg upwards. Try holding the position in air with help of belt warpped around the soles and held in both hands. This way, you’ll be able to work on your abdominal muscles too.
- Downward Dog Pose (Adhomukh Svanasana)
- Reclining Forward bend (with belt)
Beginners often find keeping their knees straight and back not curved is an issue. So, they may try doing it with support of the wall or chair. One can also try the Iyengar yoga version.
The stiffest of trees do not survive the storm. It’s the flexible ones that do. But, how much to bend, is a million dollar question. ~Anonymous
So, stretch as much as you can. But, never push too hard.
- Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)
- Forward Bend Pose (Uttanasana)
- The aim of the pose id to touch the floor with fingers, so, while attempting to go deeper into the pose, this point should always be kept in mind.
- This is a Vinyasa yoga pose and hence, movements must be synchronized with the breath. That way, you strengthen your internal as well as external system simultaneously.
- Those with issues of lower back problem should first go for Iyengar yoga version. If that works out for you fine, only then proceed with the full pose.