Upward Plank Pose
March 27, 2015
Upward-Facing Dog
March 27, 2015

Upward Salute

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

Sanskrit

Urdhva Hastasana
(erd-vah ahs-TAHS-anna)
urdhva = raised, elevated, tending upward
hasta = hand

BENEFITS

  • 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

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Shoulder or neck injuries (avoid lifting arms overhead)

HOW TO

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Set your gaze up at your hands.
  5. 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

Alternatives:

  • Lay on your mat and extend your arms overhead. Flex your feet and reach through the length of your body.

Modifications:

  • If balance is a problem, separate the feet hip-distance apart.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • 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.

VARIATIONS

  • 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
  • Hyperlordosis
  • Ribs jutting forward