Ardha Uttanasana / intense forward bend (to a wall)

Intense forward bend
(OOT-tan-AHS-ahna)
ut = intense
tan = to stretch or extend

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, facing a wall.
  • Place your hands onto the wall at shoulder height (finger tips lower than shoulder tops) and then step your feet back until your ankles are fractionally further back from the wall than your hips.
  • Check that your hands are level with each other and both middle fingers point straight up. Ensure that your feet are still hip width and the heels are not turning in.
  • Let the head drop level with the shoulders.
  • Deepen the armpits upwards but resist proportionately with the shoulder blades, so that the movement slides just underneath the skin down the back.
  • Lift the heels and apply measured pressure into the balls of the feet.
  • Draw the heels slowly back down, simultaneously drawing the knees higher to balance.
  • Draw the head of the thigh bones back while keeping the thigh stable by drawing the back thigh skin in.
  • Create space in the front groins by imagining that space creates white light and that diminishing space means diminishing light; keep the light as bright white as you can.
  • Breathe without retention into the trapezius and the lower back.
  • Scan the body to see if any areas are holding by noting if the breath becomes thin or tight at ant point.


Contraindications

If the upper back feels tight, experiment with your head position, pulling it up to draw in the upper spine or dropping it down temporarily to overcurve the dorsal spine and stretch out any tightness in the upper back.

Quotes

on mantra…

‘Knowing that all is well; I can let go of all this ‘stuff’. Developing confidence and trust in the process.’

— Karunajala