Updated: Jan 1
So take what I said about Uttanasana and lift it half way up. Done! Bam!
Not quite so cut and dry. Let's talk about this half way point between Tadasana, Urdhva Hastasana and Uttanasana.
Ardha means half in Sanskrit. Uttanasana means something akin to intense/powerful/deliberate stretch/extension/lengthening, So bring it up halfway while maintaining everything we learned in Uttanasana. Add to it the shift in your energy. Moving into Ardha Uttanasana is an uptick that brings in an inhale. It directs the heart and eyes forward to help you balance for what is next...Chaturanga Dandasana or Uttanasana.
It is a way to look ahead with your body, energy and spirit and we do that in the template of alignment, with the intention for our practice and Ahimsa (non-violence). In that way it is a prayer of possibility for steadfastness, comfort and integrity. It's a kind of half levitation.
Technically, the pose is a way to reaffirm length and space in the spine, to prepare the shoulders for reaching out and up or to take you back to Chaturanga with shoulder integrity or to melt into Uttanasana with balance and as much space as possible to get the best feel good.
Let's break it down. Physically, it is reaching the body toward a broader angle. Start in Uttanasana and then lift and lengthen your torso, sternum and eyes forward - that may mean keeping your palms on the ground and lengthening powerfully forward or lifting so your arms are like plumb lines under the shoulders, or even placing your palms on your shins to get greater length and space in your spine. At the same time you are lifting the chest and lengthening the spine, your shoulders are remaining on your back and not crowding forward. It feels like your neck and spine are lengthening - like you are building the front half of Chaturanga before you step back/jump into it. it feels like you are signaling the glutes to support the hinge of your body in balance downwards to Uttanasana. Hmmm. It's not a fling of the body. It's more deliberate. It deserves being felt and held in your attention. It feels good. Don't miss it!
Don't forget your eyes! Look forward without cranking the back of your neck into uncomfortable compression. Move your eyes and give them some RELIEF from staring at computer/phone screens all. day. long. Remember that your eyes direct your energy. You need your energy to come forward to go back or up in balance. Try not to drop your head like an unwanted accessory. You can drop. your chin to chest, but keep your eyes forward and your shoulders on your back.
Directing your energy forward is a way of praying for courage to stay balanced in challenging movements and positions coming next. So in a way, you really are half way there...livin' on a prayer in Ardha Uttanasana.
Next time...one of my favorite asana topics...Chaturanga Dandasana.
Thoughts? Comments? I love connecting and getting geeky about yoga.