Urdhva Hastasana

Definition - What does Urdhva Hastasana mean?

Urdhva hastasana is a standing asana and a key posture in Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation) sequences. It is a rejuvenating and energizing posture that offers a range of physical and mental benefits.

In this asana, the practitioner stands tall, as in mountain pose (tadasana), with the hands raised over the head.

The name for this asana comes from the Sanskrit urdhva, meaning "upward," hasta, meaning "hands," and asana, meaning "posture." Urdhva hastasana is called upward salute or upward hands pose in English.

Yogapedia explains Urdhva Hastasana

Urdhva hastasana is a naturally uplifting pose that can be practiced first thing in the morning or after long periods of sitting to boost the body’s energy. Its energizing properties mean it can be therapeutic for those suffering from fatigue or anxiety.

It is the first posture of Surya Namaskara and lifts the body to honor the energy of the sun. Traditionally, when included as part of a Sun Salutation sequence, this asana is performed outside, facing east as the sun rises.

In spiritual practice, this asana stimulates the throat chakra, which is associated with self-expression and communication. This asana can also be used to tune into the way that kundalini energy rises from the navel center and through the back of the body.

When practicing urdhva hastasana, it is important to find a sense of release. This can be achieved by releasing the shoulders away from the ears, preparing them for poses where the arms bear the weight of the body. In this way, urdhva hastasana becomes a posture with deeply balancing energetic effects. The practitioner learns to find harmony between the upward reach of the spine and the repeated release of the shoulders.

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