Lengthen and strengthen from head to toe as you move from Urdhva Hastasana to Adho Mukha Vrksasana, with Nikki Vilella, senior teacher at Kula Yoga Project in New York City.
Urdhva Hastasana Urdhva = Raised · Hasta = Hands · Asana = Pose Upward Salute
BENEFITS Teaches extension from the ground up; lengthens your side waist; strengthens your arms and shoulders
1 From standing, bring the balls of your feet to touch, leaving a narrow space between your heels. Ground down through the four corners of each foot. Lift and spread your toes—this will help you lift your arches and inner ankles and get a sense of where your midline is. Then engage your quadriceps. Maintain the lift in your arches and legs as you release your toes down.
2 Neutralize your pelvis by anchoring your tailbone toward your heels and moving the tops of your buttocks down. This helps prevent an exaggerated curve in the lumbar spine and keeps the lower front ribs from splaying out, which can interfere with maintaining a strong line of extension in both Upward Salute and Handstand.
3 Inhale your arms out to your sides, parallel to the floor. Exhale to externally rotate from the top of your humerus bones, where your arms insert into your shoulders. Draw the bottom tips of your shoulder blades toward your spine, widen your collarbones, and broaden your chest.
4 On an inhalation, raise your arms alongside your ears. On an exhalation, root down through your feet.
5 Inhale to lengthen the sides of your waist even more and reach up through the crown of your head. Exhale to firm your arms closer to your ears and midline. Make sure your lower ribs are not splaying out. Keep your gaze at the horizon, your chin level, and your throat soft and open. Hold here for 8 breaths before exhaling your arms down.
DON’T let your front ribs pop out and your pelvis drop into an anterior tilt, which can create “banana back.” An exaggerated lumbar curve in Upward Salute will cause you to lose the rooting action of your tailbone and decrease the power found in a more streamlined spinal extension.
arms go wide, which will result in a loss of length in the sides of your waist.