Urdhva Hastasana (Raised Hands Pose) | Yoga Fundamentals


Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hand Pose) is a wonderful way to stretch and awaken the body after resting or sitting for extended periods of time. Try this pose upon awakening and feel your energy levels rise. Urdhva Hastasana can be thought of as the foundation towards building your backbend and arm balancing asanas (poses). Urdhva Hastasana is a great pose for all practitioners to gain confidence as you dive deeper into your practice.


How to:

  1. Start in Samasthiti (Equal Standing) with your feet together, heels slightly apart. Ground all four corners of your feet into the mat, and engage your leg and abdominal muscles to find strength in your legs.

  2. On your inhale, sweep your arms overhead. Either place hands together or keep arms shoulder-distance apart with palms facing each other.

  3. Lift your head up and gaze past your fingertips. If this is uncomfortable or if you have a neck injury, gaze straight ahead.

  4. Pull shoulder blades down and away from your ears.

  5. Focus on your breathing, maintaining steady inhales, and exhales.


Avoid:

  • If you have neck or shoulder injuries, avoid lifting your arms overhead. Instead, practice Samasthiti (Equal Standing).

  • If your neck hurts, or you become lightheaded or dizzy, gaze straight ahead.

  • Keep your core activated to avoid letting your lower and front ribs poke out. Draw them in and slightly down towards your navel.

  • Avoid pressing palms together if your shoulders start drawing up towards your ears. Instead, open your hands shoulder-distance apart, and pull your shoulders down your spine.


Modifications:

  • If you have difficulty engaging your legs and grounding your feet into the mat, try placing a block in-between your thighs and squeezing your inner thighs together. This will help create more space in your lower back. Then squeeze your outer hips in and lengthen your tailbone down. This will help activate the whole legs and create awareness. Hold for a few breaths, and then release your arms by your side.

  • If your shoulders are tight, try opening your arms wider than shoulder-width.

  • If it's difficult to find balance with your feet together, spread your feet hip-distance apart.

  • If you are pregnant, try widening your stance as much as necessary to feel stable.


Muscles Worked:

  • Trapezius (Back of the neck and shoulders)

  • Lattissimus Dorsi (Back Muscle)

  • Transverse Abdominis (Front and side Abdominal Wall)

  • Pubococcygeus (PC muscle or Pelvic Floor Muscle)

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