How to do Upward Salute Pose

  1. Cue Tadasana, Mountain Pose.
  2. Toes touch heels slightly apart or feet hip hip-width distance. Press into all four corners of each foot.
  3. Inhale your straight arms over your head sideways. Palms facing in. Shoulders (scapula) relaxed away from your ears. If your shoulders feel tight, widen your arms, and your palms continue facing in. 
  4. Stack the crown of your head over your pelvis. Lengthen your tailbone towards the floor for a neutral pelvis. Maintain your rib cage and upper spine neutral as well.
  5. Tilt your head back gently and gaze up at your thumbs. If this bothers your neck, slightly gaze up with your eyes independent of your neutral neck.
  6. Breath in and imagine energy flowing up the sides of your body. As you exhale, soften your shoulder blades down your back and imagine energy flowing downward toward the ground
  7. Hold for a few breaths.
  8. Find the balance between the upward lengthening of the spine and the repeated release of the shoulders.

Rest your focus and gaze on the middle of the thumb, between the thumbnail and thumbnail joint. This point of cous is known as Angusthamadhye drishti.

Upward Salute (Urdhva hastasana) is usually placed after Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and before Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana), in Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara).

When included as apart of a sun salutation, it is traditionally performed outside facing the east as the sun rises.

Benefits of Upward Salute Pose in Yoga

  • Provides a natural energy boost and can be practiced first thing in the morning or after long periods of sitting. 
  • Improves shoulder mobility.
  • By stretching and opening the chest, this pose helps to relieve congestion of the lungs, chest, and stomach, which aids in breathing and digestion.
  • Helps relieve mild anxiety by placing focus into the body and breath.
  • Helps to decrease fatigue by boosting energy through breath and stretching upward.
  • Creates space between your rib cage and the vertebrae of your spine which helps to prepare the spine for deeper stretches and twists.
  • Activates Serratus Anterior which is used for Chaturanga and other weight bearing arm postures.

Additional Upward Salute Pose Options

Those with shoulder or neck injuries avoid turning your gaze or head upwards if it hurts or if you become lightheaded or dizzy.

Reach your arms forward overhead instead of arms over your head sideways if this is easier for your shoulders and neck.

If it’s difficult to straighten your arms when they’re overhead, bring your arms farther apart.

To increase shoulder stability, mobility and strength, place a strap or band around forearms, just above elbows. Gently press your outer, upper arms against the band as you soften your shoulders and neck.

If it’s difficult to balance with your feet together, stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Gradually step your feet closer together as you gain balance in the pose.

Pregnant women widen your stance for stability.

For support it is possible to practice the pose backed up against a wall. Keep a slight curve in your lower back, but your heels, buttocks, and shoulders should gently touch the wall. Your neck may be more neutral against the wall with your eyes slightly gazing upward. Raise your arms overhead into a position that works for you.

Facts about Upward Salute Pose

Pose Type:



Urdhva Hastasana (Urdhva = Upward, Hasta = Hands)

Other Names:

Talasana, Urdhva Vrikshasana, 

Safety Reminders for Upward Salute Pose

Avoid extension in your thoracic spine meaning draw your ribcage in and avoid backward bending in your upper spine. 

It is more important to keep the alignment of your spine and ribs than to reach your arms very high. Lower your arms if you need relief in shoulders, neck or upper spine.

Maintain a neutral engaged pelvis.

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