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Yoga posture of the week: Urdhva Hastasana or greeting up

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Urdhva Hastasana is a fundamental posture in the practice of yoga, especially for beginners. This pose is an extension of Tadasana (Mountain Pose), and together they form the foundation upon which many other yoga poses are built.

If you're new to yoga, starting with these basic poses is a great way to begin your journey toward better health and well-being.

Meaning and Origin of Urdhva Hastasana

Urdhva Hastasana literally translates from Sanskrit as "upward hands pose" (Urdhva = high or up, Hasta = hands, Asana = pose). This pose is known for stretching and balancing the body, and is often performed at the beginning of yoga classes to help practitioners feel the energy flowing through them.

Benefits of Practicing Urdhva Hastasana

The benefits of this posture are numerous and varied, affecting both the body and the mind:

  • Full Body Stretch: From the tips of your feet to your head, this pose helps stretch all the muscles in your body.
  • Improvement of the Digestive and Respiratory System: By stretching the abdomen and thorax, this posture facilitates digestion and improves breathing.
  • Spinal Alignment: Helps align the spine and decompresses the vertebrae, which is beneficial for those suffering from back pain.
  • Blood Circulation: Practicing Urdhva Hastasana regularly improves blood circulation in the body.
  • Body Posture: Helps improve posture, especially if you spend a lot of time standing.
  • Anxiety and Depression Relief: The posture has a calming effect and can help relieve anxiety and depression.
  • Relief from Arthritis and Sciatic Pain: May reduce the symptoms of arthritis and sciatic pain.

Precautions and Contraindications

Although Urdhva Hastasana is a generally safe pose, there are some precautions that should be kept in mind:

  • Neck Injuries: If you have neck injuries, it is important to avoid putting too much strain on this area.
  • Recovery from Surgery: If you have recently had surgery on your arm or other compromised area, consult your doctor before practicing this posture.
  • Hypertension and Osteoarthritis: People with hypertension or osteoarthritis of the knees should be cautious and possibly avoid this posture.
  • Medical Consultation: In case of other medical problems, it is always advisable to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

How to Practice Urdhva Hastasana

Here is a step-by-step guide to perform Urdhva Hastasana correctly:

1. Start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose):

  •  Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides.
  •  Distribute your weight evenly on both feet.

 Align your spine, keep your abdomen slightly contracted and relax your shoulders.

2. Raise your arms:

  • Inhale deeply and raise your arms above your head.
  • Keep your palms facing each other or together, depending on your comfort.
  • Make sure you don't arch your lower back. Keep your abdomen contracted to protect your spine.

3. Stretch Up:

  • Stretch your entire body upward, from your heels to the tips of your toes.
  • Keep your shoulders away from your ears and your arms active.

4. Maintain Posture:

  • Hold the pose for a few deep breaths.
  • Feel the stretch and energy flowing through your body.

5. Return to Tadasana:

  • Exhale and slowly lower your arms to your sides.
  • Return to mountain pose and relax your body.

Complement your Practice with Essential Oils

In addition to the poses, you can enhance your yoga experience by using essential oils. Some recommended oils are:

  • Lavender: Known for its relaxing properties.
  • Eucalyptus: Helps clear the airways.
  • Mint: Refreshing and energizing.
  • Orange: Promotes happiness and relaxation.
  • Palo Santo: Purifies the environment and calms the mind.

You can put these oils in a diffuser to create an aromatic environment that complements your yoga practice.

Urdhva Hastasana is a fundamental pose in yoga, especially valuable for beginners. As an extension of Tadasana, this pose not only helps stretch and align the body, but also promotes a number of physical and mental health benefits.

From improving posture and blood circulation to relieving anxiety and sciatic pain, the positive effects of this asana are wide and deep.

By practicing Urdhva Hastasana regularly, you can establish a solid foundation to advance your yoga practice, gaining flexibility and balance along the way.

It is crucial to keep in mind the precautions and contraindications, especially if you have pre-existing health problems, to avoid any injury.

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