Yoga Poses

3 Ways to Modify Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)

Learn how to easily modify Urdhva Hastasana if needed to find safe alignment for your body.

Modify Urdhva Hastasana if needed to find safe alignment for your body.

PREVIOUS STEP IN YOGAPEDIA5 Steps for Strong Alignment in Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)
NEXT STEP IN YOGAPEDIA3 Prep Poses for Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)


If you have trouble engaging your legs and grounding through your feet …

upward salute

TRY lacing a block on its narrow side between your inner upper thighs, close to your pubic bone. Lift your toes and then firm your inner thighs around the block. Lift your quadriceps and roll your inner thighs back, as if you were trying to pass the block to someone behind you. This will create more space in your lower back. Then squeeze your outer hips in and lengthen the tailbone down toward the block. The dual action of internally rotating your inner thighs and strongly rooting your tailbone will neutralize your pelvis and help you find strength in your legs, which you’ll need for Handstand. The block gives you something to squeeze into and helps you realize each of these actions. Hold for 8 breaths before exhaling to release your arms.

See also Get Grounded with Sun Salutes and Standing Poses

If your shoulders 
and wrists feel tight …

upward salute

TRY Baddha Guliasana (Bound Fingers Pose). Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with your palms pressing together at the center of your chest. Interlace your fingers at their roots, so that the webbing connects and forms a fist. Invert your palms so that they face the front of the room, and extend through your elbows until the arms are straight. On an inhalation, lift your arms alongside your ears and hug them in, toward your midline. When you reach up, extend all the way from the bottom sides of the waist to the heels of your palms. Do not over-bend your fingers; instead, open your wrists by pressing up through the base of the palms. Hold for 8 breaths before exhaling to release your hands and lower your arms.

See also Watch + Learn: Mountain Pose

If you are having trouble 
getting your arms alongside your ears …

upward salute

TRY working the legs, chest, and pelvis as you would in Tadasana, and bring one arm at a time into Ardha Gomukhasana arms (Half Cow Face Pose arms). Limitation in this motion could mean that you are tight in the latissimus dorsi muscles (on the mid to lower back) and tricep muscles (at the back of the upper arms). Lift your left arm, externally rotate it, and then bend at the elbow. Use your right hand to gently draw the left elbow behind the head. Rest the left hand between the shoulder blades. Hold here for 8 breaths before exhaling to release your arms. Switch sides. Over time, this will help you to bring your arms alongside your ears.

See also 4 Steps for Shoulder Stability in Weight-Bearing Yoga Poses