Ardha Uttanasana / Halfway Lift
This is a Half-way lift variation with Airplane wings. I like to teach this variation as it strengthens the back and core musculature. This is great for countering the biomechanics of sitting.
Halfway Lift is the dynamic link between Forward Fold and Mountain pose in many vinyasa sequences. Vinyasa is a style of yoga that emphasizes synchronization of breath and movement. In other words, pose actions are linked with an inhale or an exhale. Halfway Lift, for example, is fueled by the energy of an inhale. It is an excellent leg strengthener and spine stretch.
From a Forward Fold position, bend your knees slightly. Draw your hips back as you lift and elongate your spine. Lift high enough that you have to engage your back muscles. Place your fingertips on your shins, and reach your crown long and away from your hips. Draw your shoulder blades away from your ears, and meet the fullness of your inhalation.
Actively push your hips back as an anchoring point as you draw your crown forward.
Pull back through your belly and hip creases to telescope your spine forward.
Imagine the muscles that engage while doing pull-ups. Engage them here
Excerpt From: Stacy Dockins. “Embodied Posture.” iBooks.
Things to Sense and Feel
Try different degrees of knee bend. The more you bend your knees, the more: 1) your quadriceps have to work to oppose gravity and 2) the more mobility you will have to elongate your spine.
Angle your torso a little higher and then a little lower. Notice how this changes the demand on your cylindrical core as it works to support your spine.
Play with reaching arms back like in the pose above and then reach arms forward as in Superman arms. Notice the huge shift in the demand on the cylindrical core and the muscles of shoulder flexion.
Place your feet in different ways: together, apart, heels up, heels down, and one foot a few inches forward (uneven). It's all good movement and new experience for your brain!
You can find much more information like this in my new book, Embodied Posture: Your Unique Body and Yoga.