Yoga Poses

Upward Salute Pose Urdhva Hastasana

Steps

Begin with the feet together and the hands along the sides in Mountain Pose. Inhale the arms up, placing the biceps next to the ears. Let the palms face each other overhead. Feel the shoulder blades travel down the spine as the heart lifts toward the sky. Take the gaze up to the thumbs

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

It takes a certain amount of discipline to not cheat yourself of many great benefits you can receive from this pose. If your brain tells your body that you are feeling discomfort (not to be confused with real pain), acknowledge the thought, but do not act on it. See how it feels to work through the discomfort rather than letting your brain talk your body into finding a more “efficient”, but incorrect way to perform Upward Salute. As you hold the pose, notice the subtle changes in your body and in the quality of your breath.

(Note: If you feel pain, rather than mild discomfort, please release the pose and try one of the modifications listed below.)

Technical Comments

Feet should be firmly planted in the ground as the fingers reach up high to the ceiling. Do not let the ears crowd the shoulders. Be sure to stack the ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. Pull the belly button into the spine and let the tailbone drop toward the floor as the pubic bone travels up. Place the biceps right next to the ears unless doing so causes the front of the ribcage to extend too far forward.

Benefit Comments

  • Sharpens concentration and endurance.
  • Brings awareness to entire body.
  • Improves posture and alignment.
  • Promotes calmness and peacefulness.

Watch Out For:

  • Ribcage extending too far forward.
  • Shoulders crowding the ears.
  • Compression of the bones in the neck.

Contraindications

Do not raise the arms overhead if you have high blood pressure.

Modifications

  • If the arms become fatigued while they are overhead, try bending the elbows and dropping the biceps down and away from the ears. (This is sometimes referred to as “goalpost” arms or “goddess” arms.)
  • If standing is not an option, this pose can be performed while seated.
  • If neck pain is present, keep the gaze straight ahead rather than taking it up to the thumbs.

Variations

  • Challenge yourself by pressing the palms together above the head for five or more minutes.
  • Hold a strap between the hands or loop a strap around the outside of the hands and press out.
  • Interlock the thumbs while they are overhead. (Be sure to switch the position of the thumbs halfway through the pose.)

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Forward Fold.
  • Mountain Pose.
  • Hands to Prayer Position.

Written By: Amber Kocian RYT

Amber encourages students to test their limits, but gently reminds them to listen to and respect their bodies as they are each day. She believes that a safe, consistent yoga practice has the power to help anyone in every aspect of their lives. Website: ambersyoga.wordpress.com

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