Urdhva Hastasana (upward salute)- Steps and Benefits


When people are stressed and loaded with work and pressure, it becomes necessary that specific lifestyle changes and physical exercises be included in the regime so that the mind and body feel relaxed and calm. Yoga is one such habit that can be adopted and incorporated into our daily lives, which helps relieve anxiety, stress, and depression. It is the union of mind, body, and spirit. It promotes the overall health of the body. It makes you aware of your consciousness and helps you connect with the universe and radiate positive energy.  One such yoga asana is the Urdhva Hastasana or the upward salute. It derives its name from the Sanskrit word Urdhva meaning upward, hast pointing hands, and asana meaning pose. The asana requires the person to stand tall with the hands raised over the head, something similar to the mountain pose. It is included in the Surya Namaskar sequences and is an essential standing asana that provides various health and mental benefits. It helps in relieving stress and anxiety. It soothes the mind and energizes the body. It is the very first posture in the Surya Namaskar. It should be practiced early in the morning on an empty stomach or after sitting for long hours to boost energy. 

How to do Urdhva Hastasana?

Urdhva Hastasana serves as a foundation for many asanas, so following the right set of steps and instructions will help at the advanced stages of asanas. Let’s discuss the steps involved in practicing the Urdhva Hastasana.

  1. Start by assuming tadasana and stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. 
  2. Now align your toes and balance your weight on the four corners of the feet with weight being equally distributed on all the four corners.
  3. Then stimulate your thigh muscles and move your knee caps. Push your pelvis in.
  4. While you inhale, roll your shoulders up to your ear, and while exhaling, roll your shoulders down to your back. 
  5. Put your hands beside the torso and your hands knit together with your fingers towards the floor.
  6. Then, bring your head over your pelvis. This will feel as if the crown of your head is being pulled by the string towards the ceiling.
  7. Now look in front while your chin lies parallel to the floor. 
  8. Now relax all the muscles of your face, and the rest of your body is still active and working.
  9. Again inhale and lift your arms above your head, fingers towards the ceiling and palms facing each other. Exhale.
  10. Again While you inhale, roll your shoulders up to your ear, and while exhaling, roll your shoulders down to your back. 
  11. Then release all the stress and tension from the face and look at a point steadily in front of you.
  12. Lastly, bring your arms down to your side gently and come back in the posture of tadasana.
  13. Repeat this for five to ten breaths. 
  14. Precautions- people suffering from migraine, headache,  insomnia, and high blood pressure should avoid doing the asana.

Benefits of Urdhva Hastasana

The upward salute has a host of excellent benefits. Let’s discuss some of them below.

  1. It strengthens the legs and gives an excellent stretch to the whole body.
  2. It improves the posture of the body and keeps the spine straight.
  3. It stimulates the digestive system and eases bowel movement.
  4. It tones and massages the liver, kidneys, and pancreas.
  5. It helps in providing relief from back pain.
  6. It improves blood, circulation, leading to healthier skin, improved energy and confidence, and muscle growth.
  7. It provides relief from stress and anxiety.
  8. It rejuvenates the mind and body and calms the senses.
  9. It activates the throat chakra and improves communication skills, and helps with self-expression.
  10. It connects you with the divine and instills a sense of spirituality.

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