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

By Larry Payne, Georg Feuerstein

The Sanskrit word ardha (pronounced ahrd-ha) means “half.” This Yoga posture is beneficial in many ways. The half standing forward bend strengthens your legs, back, shoulders, and arms, and improves stamina.

  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; 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 instead of having them extend forward or out to the sides — the farther back, the easier.

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

In the classic version of this posture, the feet are together and the legs and arms are straight.

[Credit: Photograph by Adam Latham]
Credit: Photograph by Adam Latham