Q & A: Standing Half Forward Bend

This is a question that a student had emailed to me that I thought everyone could benefit from.
Hey Gretchen,
I have a question about half lift. I see in your picture your fingers are touching the mat, I've also seen the  hands on the feet/ankles. Is there a preferred way or reason to do this pose? Thanks!D

Hi D!
Great question! 
The simple answer is….the hands can be anywhere on the legs or mat as long as the back and legs are straight. 
Ardha Uttanasana also known as Standing Half Forward Fold or as I refer to it in my classes: Half Lift. The purpose of the half lift and forward fold within the Surya Namaskar is to stretch your hamstrings and strengthen your back while engaging your core. Hence why it's repeated often. While doing the half lift focus on keeping the back flat, if you need to bend your knees go right ahead and do that. Remember that yoga is a practice and embrace the shape of the pose as it is within your body today, tomorrow may be completely different. Try to focus on sticking your tailbone out while you lift your chest. The hands can rest on your mat next to your feet, on your knees, your shins or on your mat directly under your shoulders. 
Email me your yoga question: Gretchen (at) BeeYogaFusion.com