Sanskrit: ऊर्ध्व हास्तासन; Urdhva – Upward, Hasta – Hands, Asana – Pose; Pronounced As – oord-vah hahs-TAHS-anna.
Consciously, or subconsciously, when you roll out of bed every morning, you raise your arms, stretch as your spine arches, and your head hangs at the back. It energizes you after you have had a full night’s sleep. That stretching is what this asana is all about. Easy to take this asana for granted, right?
The Urdhva Hastasana is a part of the Surya Namaskar sequence. It is usually a short asana, done for a short duration. But it is only when you take your time with this asana, you can explore its benefits fully.
Everything You Need To Know About The Urdhva Hastasana
- What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
- How To Do The Urdhva Hastasana
- Precautions And Contraindications
- Beginner’s Tip
- Advanced Pose Variation
- The Benefits Of The Upward Salute
- The Science Behind The Urdhva Hastasana
- Preparatory Poses
- Follow-Up Poses
What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
This asana can be practiced any time of the day.
It is not mandatory that this asana must be done on an empty stomach. But if you are preceding or following it up with yoga asanas, it is best to have your meals at least four to six hours before you do this asana. Also, make sure that your bowels are clean.
Style: Vinyasa Flow
Duration: A breath or a minute
Stretches: Intercostal muscles
Strengthens: Legs, Abdomen
How To Do The Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
- You must begin by assuming the Tadasana. Stand with your arms at your sides. Then, gently raise them to the ceiling.
- Make sure that your arms are parallel to each other. You can also bring your palms together over your head. While you do this, make sure your shoulders are not hunched. If your palms are apart, then they must face each other. Your arms must be straight at all times such that they are activated all throughout, till your fingertips. Move your gaze upwards.
- Your shoulders must be away from your ears, and your shoulder blades must be pressed firmly on your back.
- Your thighs should be engaged in such a way that they pull the kneecaps up. Straighten your legs, but do not lock your knees. Always remember that a micro-bend in your knees is safer for your joints.
Precautions And Contraindications
You must avoid practicing this asana with your arms raised if you have had an injury in your neck or shoulders.
As a beginner, it might be hard to keep your arms straight when you raise them. You could use a shoulder-width loop to help you do this. Secure the loop around your upper arms, just above your elbows.
Advanced Pose Alterations
You could intensify your stretch by converting this pose into a backbend. All you need to do is bend your spine backward as if you are leaning over a beach ball. You must let your neck hang back. Eventually, you should be able to take the Wheel Pose.
The Benefits Of The Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)
These are some amazing benefits of Urdhva Hastasana.
- It gives the belly a good stretch.
- It helps improve digestion.
- It gives the armpits and the shoulders a good stretch.
- It relieves stress and anxiety.
- It helps enhance body posture.
- It helps increase the capacity of the lungs.
- It improves blood circulation in the body.
- It eases sciatica.
The Science Behind The Urdhva Hastasana
When this asana is practiced independently, its depth is increased, and the inner body is repeatedly dropped (the shoulders and the front of the ribs). As you practice, you will realize how the energy rises from the center of the abdomen and the strength builds upwards through the back. When you assume the pose, exhale and soften the top part of your lungs, and as you do this, feel the space around the heart increase. This will create an energy that will drop the inner body, making more room to breathe. This also improves the neck extension and straightens the spine without any extra muscular effort.
There are complex ideas behind the simplest of movements. This asana proves that fact. Do not take it for granted and do not underestimate it because it can do wonderful things for you.
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