Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute) – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Asanas (Yoga Poses) Glossary

I. What is Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)?

Urdhva Hastasana, also known as Upward Salute, is a foundational yoga pose that involves stretching the arms overhead while standing. The name Urdhva Hastasana comes from the Sanskrit words “Urdhva,” meaning upward, “Hasta,” meaning hand, and “Asana,” meaning pose. This pose is often used as a warm-up or as a transitional pose in yoga sequences.

II. How to Perform Urdhva Hastasana?

To perform Urdhva Hastasana, start by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart and your arms resting by your sides. Take a deep breath in as you lift your arms overhead, reaching towards the sky. Keep your palms facing each other or bring them together in a prayer position.

Engage your core muscles and lengthen your spine as you reach upwards. Keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears. Hold the pose for a few breaths, then exhale as you release your arms back down to your sides.

III. What are the Benefits of Urdhva Hastasana?

Urdhva Hastasana offers a variety of benefits for both the body and mind. This pose helps to stretch and lengthen the spine, shoulders, and arms, improving flexibility and range of motion. It also helps to open up the chest and lungs, promoting better breathing and posture.

Urdhva Hastasana can help to relieve tension in the shoulders and upper back, making it a great pose for those who sit at a desk or computer for long periods. This pose can also help to improve focus and concentration, making it a great way to start or end your day.

IV. What Muscles are Targeted in Urdhva Hastasana?

Urdhva Hastasana primarily targets the muscles of the arms, shoulders, and upper back. As you reach your arms overhead, you engage the deltoids, triceps, and biceps. This helps to strengthen and tone the muscles of the upper body.

Additionally, Urdhva Hastasana also engages the muscles of the core and back as you lengthen the spine and engage the abdominal muscles. This helps to improve posture and stability, making it a great pose for overall strength and balance.

V. What are the Modifications for Urdhva Hastasana?

There are several modifications that can be made to Urdhva Hastasana to make the pose more accessible or to deepen the stretch. For beginners or those with limited flexibility, you can keep a slight bend in the elbows or bring the hands to the hips instead of reaching overhead.

For a deeper stretch, you can interlace the fingers and press the palms towards the sky, opening up the chest and shoulders. You can also add a side stretch by leaning to one side while in the pose, stretching the obliques and side body.

VI. What are the Contraindications for Urdhva Hastasana?

While Urdhva Hastasana is generally a safe and beneficial pose, there are some contraindications to be aware of. If you have any shoulder injuries or conditions, such as rotator cuff injuries or frozen shoulder, you should avoid or modify this pose to avoid exacerbating the injury.

Additionally, if you have any neck or spine injuries, such as herniated discs or cervical spondylosis, you should be cautious when performing Urdhva Hastasana and may need to modify the pose to avoid putting strain on the neck or spine. Always listen to your body and consult with a yoga instructor or healthcare provider if you have any concerns.