HEALTH BENEFITS OF URDHVA HASTASANA (UPWARD SALUTE)

The innate instinct of any animal after waking up every morning is to stretch its muscles in order to wake up our tightened muscles. Human beings aren’t unfamiliar to this practice either. We wake up and, sometimes involuntarily, do a little stretch which serves as an alarm to our muscles, telling them to fire up and go on with their duties.  The extended upward arm stretch is called the Upward Salute in Yoga. Urdhva Hastasana (pronounced oor-DHwa hus-tAh suh-nuh) is derived from the Sanskrit words Urdhva (meaning ‘upwards’), hasta (meaning ‘hand’), and asana (meaning ‘posture’). This is a simple stretch that is followed by a number of other Asanas. It is often overlooked and passed over, as it is a beginner-level starting pose. Urdva Hastasana invigorates the body and mind. It’s a great pose for shaking off the midday doldrums. Try practicing it every 20-30 minutes to break up your desk-sitting time. When practiced with attention to continuity, it can help to realign your posture.

URDHVA HASTASANA (UPWARD SALUTE)

Steps to perform Urdhva Hastasana (UPWARD SALUTE):

  • Stand with your feet together
  • Press the soles of your feet down into the floor.
  • Place your hands in namaste position
  • Keeping your palms together, raise your arms up toward the sky until your arms are straight
  • Alternatively, you can stretch your arms upward, keeping them parallel with your palms facing each other
  • In another variation, you can clasp your fingers and turn your palms upward
  • With the arms raised upward, continue to root your feet into the floor. Feed your pelvis down into your legs and feet, and grow your waist up out of your pelvis
  • You can keep your head in a neutral position, looking straight ahead. Or, you can draw your throat back toward your cervical spine and tilt your head slightly back, lengthening your neck as you go. Do not overextend the neck by letting your head simply hang backward
  • Draw the tops of your thighs back so that you maintain your spinal curves. Do not to poke your bottom ribs forward as you draw your thighs back
  • Allow the shoulder blades to wing out to the sides
  • Take 5 to 10 deep breaths
  • With your hands still in namaste position, lower your arms toward your chest. Pause here for a breath or two before allowing your arms to dangle at your sides

Health Benefits of Urdhva Hastasana (UPWARD SALUTE):

Upward salute pose has many benefits to offer, it doesn’t just heal you physically but also spiritually. This pose helps in stretching the whole body, massaging internal organs for their better functioning and it also helps in securing a connection with mother earth and allowing free flow of energy.

Here are some of the guaranteed benefits of Urdhva Hastasana pose –

  • It elongates every vertebra of the spine which makes you look taller and realigns your posture
  • Allows a full-body stretch which in turn lubricates your joints better and healthier
  • By compressing your digestive tract during stretching, it improves digestion and better bowel movement
  • Gently massages kidneys, liver, and pancreas
  • Improves blood flow throughout the body which further leads to healthy skin, better muscle growth, increased vitality and energy
  • Relieves back pain and sciatica
  • Reduces anxiety and stress to a great extent
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