Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hasta Uttanasana

Raised Arm Pose

How to do it:

Stand with your feet together with your toes facing forward. Your big toes and inner heels should try to touch. Try to distribute your weight equally between the inner and outer sides of your feet.

Take an inhale and raise your arms above your head.  Extend through the spine in an upward motion. Your arms will be straight and parallel to each other. Your palms can face each other or towards the ceiling.

Depending on your flexibility, you will begin to move your pelvis forward as you arch backward as far as comfortable. Bend backwards moving from your middle upper back. Try not to compress your lower spine.

You will feel your rib cage lifting up and your abdomen area stretch.


Option 1: You can also take your feet hip distance apart to help with your standing balance.

Option 2: You can bend your knees until you develop the flexibility to bend back with out bending your knees

Option 3: You can also use a wall to help you with stability. Stand with your feet a few inches from the wall.. Lean your hips into the wall. Extend through your spine upward with an inhale and slowly lean back with every exhale. Keep pressing your hips into the wall and distributing the weight into the feet.

Drishti (Where you should look):

Hastagrai: Look toward your hands

Where you should concentrate:

Bring your concentration to your throat.

Why we do it: 

Hasta Uttanasana helps with body balance.

As we move our arms and chest area up and back, we extend and strengthen the spine and open the anterior ribcage. Opening of the ribcage will allow our lungs to expand fully on inhales and help increase lung capacity over time.

Metaphysically, the extension of the ribcage up, is often seen as a way to "open" our heart towards others.

Raising your arms increases rotation in the shoulders

About the picture: 

I'd like to thank my friend Tina Sonoda for posing for Hasta Uttanasana. She is a professional classical Pilates Instructor at Purely Pilates in Belmont, CA and Evolve in Los Altos, CA and yogini. She can be reached at 650-867-7171 or

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