Ardha Uttanasana, Half Forward Fold, Monkey Pose~whatever name you use to describe the pose~will help you find length in your side body, hamstrings, and freedom in the back and neck.

Move-It Monday~Yoga Pose: Monkey Pose (Ardha Uttanasana)

Difficulty level: Easy

Benefits

  • Stretches the hamstrings,waist, spine, chest, sidebody and shoulders
  • Strengthens the abdominal muscles

Begin in Uttanasana (Forward Fold) with your fingertips on a block..  Inhale, lift your flat back up and away from your thighs, extending through the back and drawing the shoulder blades together on your back.  As you lift and extend, allow your hands to slide up your shins.

Press down evenly through all 4 corners of your feet as you draw your belly button into your spine and away from your thighs.  Keep your neck relaxed as you lift your gaze slightly, looking forward past your mat.

Exhale and return to Uttanasana (Forward Fold).

Variations:

As you are able to more easily stretch in this pose, practice with lowering the height of the block under your forward hand, until eventually your right fingertips rest on the floor.

Regardless of which variation you are practicing, as you hold the pose, gently draw your lower rib cage forward and lift your gaze (if your neck allows) to further open the chest.

Looking for a yoga sequence you can incorporate into your daily routine?  Check out Refresh, Renew, Reset~A 7-Day Jumpstart For Mind and Body.  I created this nutrition protocol with daily yoga and meditation to assist you in jumping into (or back into) your healthy lifestyle!