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How to Do the Half Standing Forward Bend (Ardha uttanasana) in Yoga

The Sanskrit word ardha (pronounced ahrd-ha) means “half.” The Yoga standing posture, half standing forward bend strengthens your legs, back, shoulders, and arms and improves stamina. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Start in the mountain posture and as you inhale, raise your arms forward and then up overhead as in the standing forward bend.

  2. As you exhale, bend forward from your hips.

    Soften your knees and hang your arms.

  3. Bend your knees, and as you inhale, raise your torso and arms up from the front so that they’re parallel to the floor.

    If you have any back problems, keep your arms back by your sides, and then over a period of time gradually stretch them out to the sides like a T and eventually in front of you so they’re parallel to the floor.

  4. Bring your head to a neutral position so that your ears are between your arms.

    Look down and a little forward. To make the posture easier, move your arms back toward your hips — the further back, the easier.

  5. Repeat Steps 1 through 4 three times and then stay in Step 4 for 6 to 8 breaths.


Note: In the classical version of this posture, the feet are together and the legs and arms are straight.

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