Upward Salute is a simple standing posture usually cued at the start of a Sun Salutation sequence or as part of a breathing exercise. The Sanskrit name literally translates as “raised arms pose” (“Urdhva” meaning upward, “hasta” meaning hand). It’s a great stretch for the whole body, encouraging you to lengthen upwards through fingertips and head while grounding through the feet.
1.) Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Root through the soles of your feet. Shorten the space between the big toe knuckle and the heel to engage through the inner arches of both feet.
2.) On an inhale, raise your arms overhead in a broad, sweeping motion.
3.) Bring your palms to heart center, draw your shoulder blades down your back, hug your ribs down to your belly button, engaging your core, and point your sternum upwards. Breathe here. Hold this position for up to five minutes.
4.) To release out of this position, simply return to Mountain Pose and enjoy the calm.
Reaching the arms overhead while engaging transabdominal muscles really opens up the armpits, shoulders and triceps. Regularly stretching through upper limbs is vital for maintaining decent shoulder mobility and preventing future injury and strain.
Including Upward Salute as part of your breathing sequence is great way to visualise and manifest the upward motion associated with inhaling and the softening brought by exhaling. Focusing the mind on the breaths and movement could be used as a grounding technique if you suffer with anxiety.
If you have a history of neck problems or have suffered an injury, keep your gaze straight ahead and your neck in the neutral position when performing this pose.
If you have decent mobility in your shoulders and upper spine, you could shift the focus to your thoracic vertebrae by drawing the palms further back, lifting through the chest and actively arching through the upper back. Keep your core firm and engaged to avoid compensating with a backbend and compressing the lumbar spine.