Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute), Standing Backbends (Hasta Uttanasana / Anuvittasana / Extended Tadasana) & Drop Back – Overview

Asana Digest Overview


Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute), plus Standing Backbends: Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Hands), Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend), Extended Tadasana (Extended Mountain) and Drop Back


Become knowledgeable about the pose and review detailed teaching considerations.


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.

Prerequisite Knowledge

The focus of Asana Digests is teaching specific poses. This support presumes you’re aware of the groundwork and teaching support here: Asana Category – Standing Poses

Poses Overview

Urdhva Hastasana

Upward Salute

Hasta Uttanasana

Raised Hands Pose
Also known as: Raised Arms Pose or Talasana (Palm Tree Pose)


“anuvitta” = found, obtained
Standing Backbend
Also called Extended Tadasana (Extended Mountain Pose)

Naming Conventions

  • In Urdhva Hastasana, the spine is lengthened up for axial extension.
  • The other poses in this digest are different names for a standing backbend: Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend), Hasta Uttanasana (Raised Hands Pose) and Extended Tadasana (Extended Mountain Pose).

Surya Namaskar

These poses are part of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) and related vinyasas.

  • 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 (For 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 and upward gaze, 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

Much More in this Digest

Asana Digests are precisely organized so that you can quickly get what you need. Please select from the menu above and be sure to review any contraindications and cautions.

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