AnatomyFeet, Legs, Ribs, Shoulders, Spine
Urdhva Hastasana (erd-vah ahs-TAHS-anna) urdhva = raised, elevated, tending upward hasta = hand
- Stretches the entire body
- Prepares the body for yoga practice
- Helps align the spinal column
- Opens the shoulders
- Improves digestion
- Relieves mild anxiety and fatigue
- Shoulder or neck injuries (avoid lifting arms overhead)
- Stand in Tadasana (Mountain pose) with your feet together and arms at your sides. Ground down through your feet by pressing evenly into the big toe, little toe, and heel.
- As you inhale, sweep your arms out to the sides and then up toward the sky. Press your palms and fingers together, coming into prayer over your head.
- With an exhale, release your shoulders away from your ears to open the chest. Draw your front ribs in, toward your spine, and lengthen your tailbone toward the ground.
- Set your gaze up at your hands.
- Hold this pose for a few gentle breaths. To release, lower your hands (in prayer) to heart center. If performing a vinyasa flow, exhale and hinge forward at the hips, coming into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold).
MODIFY OR REPLACE
- Lay on your mat and extend your arms overhead. Flex your feet and reach through the length of your body.
- If balance is a problem, separate the feet hip-distance apart.
- Ground down through all four corners of the feet.
- Keep your tailbone in a neutral position.
- Lower the shoulders away from the ears.
- Do not let the front ribs protrude forward—draw them down and in.
- Instead of joining the hands together, keep the arms extended shoulder-width apart overhead.
- Sweep the arms forward instead of out to the sides.
- With hands together, draw the arms back to create a slight backbend.
WATCH OUT FOR
- Shoulders up near the ears
- Internal rotation of the arms
- Ribs jutting forward