Urdhvasana : The first position
Urdhvasana means ‘position held by the upward parts of my body’. It is the first position in the Prana Vashya Yoga™ ‘sun salutation’ (or ‘surya namaskar’ in Sanskrit) which is a continuous flow of postures designed to warm up all the key muscle groups in the body.
How to get into the position
Ensuring your feet are together or waist with apart (if apart, then the heels and big toes should be in one line pointing straight forward), plant both feet firmly on the ground. Your weight should be evenly distributed on both feet and hips. As you inhale raise both of your arms together above your head to expand the chest and tilt your pelvis forward to curve the lower back, ensuring you keep your knees and arms straight. As you lean back this way, keep looking forward.
If you have any neck or lower back issues then a good variation to Urdhvasana is to keep both your hands on your hips as you lean back.
It is very important to look forward when leaning back. If you look back as you lean back, then you will collapse the neck so that the muscles stop working. This causes the load / weight of the body to go into the available joint instead of working the relevant muscle (so you will end up straining your neck and lower back). By looking forward when you bend back you work the anterior muscles of the torso and the linea alba, which is the proper intention of Urdhvasana; the position held by the upward parts of my body.
Strengthens the abdominal muscles, torso and shoulders
Can help with back ache
Helps with people who suffer from indigestion problems