Upward Salute Pose (Urdhva Hastasana, Raised Hands Pose)

Diagram - Upward Salute Pose

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The Upward Salute Pose, also known as Urdhva Hastasana or Raised Hands Pose, is a standing yoga pose. In this pose, the yogi stands upright with their feet hip-width apart. They extend their arms overhead, with their palms facing each other.

  • Position: Standing.
  • Stretched body parts: Abs, sides of the torso, shoulders.
  • Benefits: The Upward Salute Pose is a simple pose that is a great way to warm up for other yoga exercises. The pose stretches your belly so can help with digestion.
  • Symbolism: The Upward Salute Pose symbolizes a sense of reaching up towards the sky, reaching to the divine or universe. It acknowledges and embraces the vastness of the world beyond our own bodies, providing a deep sense of sense and a connection with the universe.
  • Similar poses: Mountain Pose (Tadasana), Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana), Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Meaning of Urdhva Hastasana

The name “Urdhva Hastasana” is derived from three Sanskrit words:

  • Urdhva” means “upward” or “raised”;
  • Hasta” means “hand”; and
  • “Asana” means “pose”.

Put together, this forms the name Urdhva Hastasana, which translates literally to “Upward Hand Pose”.

How to do The Upward Salute Pose

Woman standing in the Upward Salute Pose
  1. Start in a standing position, with your feet hip-width apart and pointing forwards (parallel to each other). Keep your arms by your sides and your gaze straight ahead.
  2. Take a deep breath and lift your arms up towards the sky. Keep your arms close to your ears.
  3. Stretch your fingers outwards. If possible, press your palms together.
  4. Keep your shoulders relaxed, your abs engaged and your spine long. Hold the pose for a few breaths, feeling the stretch along your spine.
  5. Now, exhale and slowly release from the pose. Slowly bring your arms down to your sides.


  • For extra support: If you find it difficult to balance, lean your back against a wall for support. Raise your arms as you would in the traditional pose, but allow the wall to support your back and arms.
  • Seated pose: You could also perform this pose seated in a chair, if you find it difficult to stand or maintain balance. Sit upright in a chair, with your feet flat on the floor, then raise your arms overhand just as you would in the standing variation.
  • Bent elbows: If it’s difficult to raise your arms fully and hold them in position, try bending your elbows as your clasp your palms together.
  • More challenging: To make this pose more challenging, you can try to lift your body up onto the balls of your feet while in the arms raised position.


  • Be sure to synchronize your movement with your breath. Inhale as you lift up your arms and exhale as you lower them.
  • Be conscious about where your feet are positioned on the ground and ensure you are distributing your bodyweight evenly between your feet.
  • Don’t force your palms together if it is uncomfortable. It’s okay to keep your hands shoulder-width apart in this pose.
  • When reaching upwards, do not overstretch your arms. Keep your shoulders relaxed, i.e. do not try to stretch your shoulders up towards your ears.

Prep poses

  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana) – The Mountain Pose establishes the basic alignment needed for all standing poses in yoga. This pose keeps your hands lowered, but it otherwise a similar pose to the Upward Salute Pose.
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – The Downward Dog is a great pose for opening up your shoulders, increasing the range of motion of your arms about your shoulder. The same flexibility is required for the Upward Salute Pose.
  • Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana) – This is another pose that stretches your shoulders. It also encourages proper posture and alignment of your spine, which helps in performing the Upward Salute Pose.