Given below are the step-by-step instructions to follow for the practice of Ardha Uttanasana Hands On Floor (Half Forward Fold Hands On Floor):
- Begin the practice standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Stand focusing on the breathing.
- Inhale, raise your arms and come to Upward Salute Pose (Urdhva Hastasana), gazing upwards at the fingers. Stay here for about 2-3 breaths lengthening the spine and shoulders.
- Exhaling, pull the belly in, engage your abdomen and pelvis, go in a forward fold from your hips, keeping the knees soft, bring your arms forward and downward. Slowly exhale out completely and place the palms ahead of your feet.
- Rest the hands on the tips of your fingers, moving the shoulders above the wrist. Ground the feet by pushing them and lengthen the legs upwards.
- When comfortable, gently raise the head up as you inhale, lifting from the neck, face and head.
- Find the comfort in this forward bend without overstretching the hips while going in the forward bend, or lifting the chest and face. Be aware of the stretch in the knees, and if required one could use a block for placing the hands on it. This will avoid overstretching of the muscles of the legs and hips.
- Once in the forward fold, gently begin the body-breath awareness, and stay here for about 3-4 breaths. Pulling your belly in helps to support the back to move forward and also in lengthening the spine as it bends forward.
- To release, inhale, look up further and release the hands from the floor. Stretch the arms at shoulder level to the sides as you continue inhaling, and come to Standing Forward Fold Pose Variation 1 (Uttanasana Variation 1).
- Exhale out completely. Inhaling rise up, and come to stad in Tadasana.
- Relax, and repeat the practice following the instructions given above to take the practice to the second round. Stay in the pose for about 4-6 breaths, and notice the difference in the stretch, breath, and flexibility.
- If you’re finding any discomfort or stiffness in back muscles or in hamstring muscles please use the blocks to find the most length to reach the floor.
- If you’re a beginner, then, it is better not to explore the limits at this stage. Just repeat the down and up movement several times without a lot of concern about stretching.
- Roll down to wherever gravity carries you and feel the stiffness and discomfort with any tension.
- Keep the abdominal muscles engaged all through the practice.