Upward Facing Dog Pose, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, (oor-dhvuh mu-khuh sh-vaa-naa-suh-nuh)
urdhva (upward) + mukha (face) + svana (dog) + asana (pose)
Also known as: Up Dog, Upward Dog
As you move through Upward Facing Dog, float upwards and open your chest
Upward Facing Dog Pose Fundamentals
Upward Facing Dog is a powerful foundational yoga asana that taps into your upper body strength and opens your chest and abdomen with a generous stretch.
This wonderful back stretching pose may be just what your body needs after a day of sitting at a desk.
Upward Facing Dog Pose Benefits
- Strengthens your arms, wrists, and spine
- Stretches and opens your chest, shoulders, and abdominal muscles
- Stimulates the internal organs
- It is an energizing pose
- Improves posture
How To Do The Upward Facing Dog Pose: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
1. Begin Upward Facing Dog by lying on your belly with your feet placed hip-distance apart on the mat and your hands pressing down on your mat beside your lower ribs.
2. Activate your legs by pressing down with the tops of your feet.
3. On an inhalation, press down into your hands and feet, straighten your arms and lift your legs.
4. Open your chest forward and up, keeping your legs straight, your hands rooted down, and your shoulders back.
5. Continue the curvature of your spine with your neck.
6. Release on an exhale, floating down to the mat with control.
Tips And Tricks:
- Ensure that your shoulders don’t hunch and draw towards your ears. To avoid this, press through your hands, creating length in the upper body.
- Be sure to actively press into all ten toes when pressing up. Lift your kneecaps and keep your legs engaged.
Upward Facing Dog pose variation: Knees-down Upward-Facing Dog
If lifting your legs off the floor is too challenging for now, feel free to keep your knees on the mat as you come into Upward Facing Dog. However, remember to still remain active and engaged through the legs.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Upward Facing Dog Pose requires your wrists to hold a significant amount of your body weight, meaning that this asana could be painful for those with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Back And Neck Injuries:
If you have a back or neck injury or are recovering from surgery, it may be best to avoid this asana and potentially come into gentler backbends such as Baby Cobra Pose or Sphinx Pose. Always listen to your body and if you feel any pain, come out of the pose.
During pregnancy, you are not advised to put pressure on the belly area. Regardless, during the 2nd and 3rd trimester, Upward Facing Dod Pose will become nearly impossible.
When pregnant, instead of Upward Facing Dog, try Cow Pose.
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