Upward Hand Pose - Urdhva Hastasana

Upward Hand Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska


Upward Hand Pose, Palm Tree Pose, or Urdhva Hastasana in Sanskrit, is considered a base pose as Urdhva Hastasana variations can be derived from this pose. Upward Hand Pos helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences. This pose is considered a warm-up yoga pose to prepare the body for more intense yoga poses or yoga flows.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
From Mountain Pose (Tadasana), inhale to bring your arms out to the sides and up toward the ceiling.
Step 2
Keep your arms parallel or bring your palms together overhead only if you can do so without hunching up your shoulders. If your palms are apart, keep them facing each other. Your arms should be very straight and your hands active all the way through the fingertips. Take your gaze (drishti) up toward your thumbs.
Step 3
Slide your shoulders away from your ears with a focus on broadening through your collar bones. If you feel like your ribs are jutting forward or pulling apart, knit them back together. Keep your thigh muscles strongly engaged so that they draw the kneecaps up.
Step 4
With arms above head, root into your feet as you lift through the crown of your head. Gently pull the navel towards spine while keeping a lift through the sternum.

Benefits and Contraindications


Stretches the belly

Improves digestion

Stretches the shoulders and armpits

Helps relieve mild anxiety


Avoid the raised arms in this pose with shoulder or neck injuries.

Photo poses in different angles

Modifications, Props and Tips

If you have any neck problems, do not tilt your head to look up at your thumbs. Instead, keep your gaze level. You may not be able to raise your arms over your head if you have a shoulder or neck injury. In that case, you might instead remain in Mountain Pose.

Pregnant women and those with balance issues should keep a wider stance, whatever feels most stable.

To achieve good posture, practice the pose with your back to a wall so you can feel the alignment as each part of your body stacks up straight.

Place a block between your thighs. Squeeze the block and roll it slightly backward to feel the engagement and rotation of the thighs, including a broadening of the sit bones. Then remove the block and try to replicate the action of rotating the thighs inward.

Up for a Challenge?

Take this posture into a backbend. Imagine your spine draping over a beach ball as you lean back. Let the neck hang back if that’s comfortable. Eventually, you may be able to drop all the way back to Wheel Pose. Practice this near a wall at first, using your hands on the wall to work your way down to the floor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Modifications & Variations

  • Bound Fingers Pose
  • Palm Tree Pose On Tiptoes
  • Half Cow Face Pose arms

Top Preparatory Poses

  • Mountain Pose

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.