Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute) & Standing Backbends – Overview

Lesson Overview

  • Features: Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute), and related poses such as Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Hands), Anuvittasana (Standing Backbends), Extended Tadasana (Extended Mountain)
  • Objective: Become knowledgeable about the pose and review detailed teaching considerations.
  • Description: Explain the Sanskrit naming; contraindications and cautions; associated benefits and typical effects; instructions and cues for setting up and practicing the pose; variations to meet particular intentions and needs; and more teaching considerations.

Urdhva Hastasana

Upward Salute

Hasta Uttanasana

Raised Hands

Also known as: Raised Arms Pose


Standing Backbend

Extended Tadasana

Extended Mountain Pose

Naming Conventions

  • In Urdhva Hastasana, the spine is lengthened up.
  • Urdvha Hastasana may also be called Talasana (Palm Tree Pose).
  • Names for a Standing Backbend include Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Hands Pose), Extended Tadasana (Extended Mountain Pose) and Anuvittasana (anuvitta = found, obtained).
  • When Anuvittasana is used, it is usually “translated” simply as Standing Backbend.

Surya Namaskar

These poses are an element of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) and the many vinyasa variations that draw from it.

  • Some sources teach Upward Salute in their vinyasas and some teach a Standing Backbend.
  • Most sources use a Standing Backbend in the Classical (Lunge) Salute and Urdhva Hastasana in Surya Namaskar A. Joseph and Lilian LePage use this approach in Yoga Teachers’ Toolbox 2005 pgs 11-12 (referring to the Standing Backbend as Extended Tadasana).  link

Sources that teach Surya Namaskar with Urdhva Hastasana include:

  • David Swenson, Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual 1999 p 17 (Surya Namaskar A – Swenson does not call the pose by name but simply demonstrates it—with no backbend.)  link
  • Silva Mehta, Yoga: The Iyengar Way 2009 pgs 146-147 (Surya Namaskar A)  link
  • Martin Kirk & Brooke Boon, Hatha Yoga Illustrated 2006 pgs 210-211 (Both Surya Namaskar A and Classical Sun Salute)  link
  • Beryl Bender Birch, Power Yoga 1995 pgs 63-71 (Urdhva Hastasana with palms together & gaze up, Surya Namaskar A)  link

Sources that teach Surya Namaskar with a Standing Backbend include:

  • Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha 2008 pgs 162-174 (Classical Sun Salute)  link
  • Dharma Mittra, Asanas: 608 Yoga Poses 2003 pgs 24-35 (Classical Sun Salute)  link


  • Stretches abdomen
  • Stretches shoulders & armpits
  • Expands lungs

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