Hey guys, are you ready for pose number two in the sun salutation series? The next asana is Urdvha Hastasana or Upward Salute. Typically, you come into this pose from Tadasana, which I describe in a previous post and I recommend reviewing this foundational pose before moving on to Upward Salute.
For many of us, Upward Salute is a pose we practice unconsciously every morning when we roll out of bed yawning. We often raise our arms, arching the spine and take our head back. It is an intuitive motion that helps jumpstart our energy for the coming day! Urdhva Hastasana has within it, the seeds of more advanced poses like arm balances and backbends. By mastering the intelligence of a simple pose, you can gain the power and confidence to move deeper into your practice.
Honor the complexity of the simplest stretch: Upward Salute
– Yoga Journal
Benefits of Upward Salute include:
- Reduces back ache
- Stretches the belly, which improves digestion
- Stretches the sides of the body, spine, shoulders and armpits
- Tones the thighs
- Helps relieve mild anxiety and fatigue
- Creates space in the chest and lungs, which is therapeutic for asthma and congestion.
A vital part of Sun Salutations and many other warm-up sequences, Upward Salute properly aligns the spinal column. This helps to protect the spinal muscles and nerves during other movements. By creating space between the vertebrae, the pose improves posture and helps to prepare the spine for deeper stretches and twists.
Ground Down to Lift Up
As a modification, if your shoulders are tight, keep your arms as wide as your shoulders (or even wider). If you can keep your arms straight without drawing your shoulders up, press your palms together. This protects your shoulder girdle and brings your awareness to the flexibility in your shoulders, so that you can make the proper modifications during Chataranga and other shoulder strengthening poses.
Make sure not to compress the back of your neck, tip your head back slightly and gaze at your thumbs.
As always, honor where your body is. Work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
I am raising money for my trip to India, where I will be able to fulfill a lifelong dream of completing my Yoga Therapy certification in the “Mother Land” and to also undergo a deep detoxification through an Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatment after undergoing extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments. If you would like to support my mission and make a donation to my fund, I would be SO SO thankful!
You can make a donation at gofund.me/Salutations2India