Urdhva Hastasana, or the Upward Salute, is the Sanskrit way of saying "throw your hands in the air." Sometimes teachers may also call it Talasana, or the Palm Tree Pose. However in this pose, you are not standing on one leg as you would in Vrksasana, the traditional Tree Pose.
(Pronounced as "OORD-vah hahs-TAHS-anna")
The Sanskrit word urdhva means "raised upward," and hasta means "hand."
Stand up straight and tall on your yoga mat in Tadasana, also known as Mountain Pose. Keep your feet together. Your arms should hang naturally by your sides. Keep the arms straight with the fingers pointing down toward the floor and the palms facing your thighs. Now rotate your arms outward from the shoulders so that your palms face forward. Inhale as you lift your arms out to the sides and continue reaching the fingers up toward the ceiling.
You may feel that your shoulders become tighter the more you lift your arms up. In that case, it is enough to lift your arms up until they are parallel to each other above your head. You can hold that position. However, if you are more flexible, then continue lifting your hands and stretching your arms up and slightly behind your ears until you can bring the palms together.
Open your armpits fully and tuck in your shoulder blades to get the maximum lift through your shoulders. Push your fingertips up as high as possible, lengthening your arms. Then tilt your head back just enough so that you can gaze upward at your thumbs. Keep the neck relaxed as you perform this movement.
While you should lift up your sternum as high as you can, do not let your ribs or your belly come forward. Keep your stomach in and extend your tailbone down toward the floor. Hold this posture for several breaths.
Take a deep breath. Now as you exhale, let your arms sweep down and out to your sides as your arms lead you into Standing Forward Bend, also known as Uttanasana.
For recent shoulder or neck injuries, practice Uttanasana first to help open and relax the joints. Then slowly stand up and raise the arms little by little, stopping whenever you feel anything beyond a slight discomfort.
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