Summary of Contents
About the pose
The name Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, comes from the Sanskrit words, ‘urdhva’ = ‘ ‘upward’ ,‘mukha’ = ‘face’ and ‘svan’ = ‘dog’. Hence it is also called the Upward Facing Dog Pose. The body stretches like the way a dog generally stretches and hence the name. This backbend pose works to a great extend on the arms and shoulders strength.
This pose is similar to Bhujangasana or the Cobra Pose, the only difference being, that in Cobra Pose the entire lower body touches the floor making a deep back bend and in Upward Facing Dog Pose the lower body from the hips to the ankles are just above the floor and does not touch the floor. Hence the strength of the arms and the shoulders are put to test.
- Lower Back
- Middle Back
- Upper Back
- Biceps and Triceps
- Core (Abs)
How to do the pose
- Lie on your stomach, with your hands next to the ribs, fingers pointing forwards, elbows tucked into your sides.
- Press the tops of your feet into the floor and engage the thighs and knees, and keep the tailbone pointing towards the heels.
- On an inhalation press into your hands and feet, straighten your arms and lift your chest and legs off the floor.
- Engage your lower belly and knit your lower ribs.
- Draw the shoulder blades onto your back and lift your breastbone.
- You can look straight ahead or up towards the ceiling.
- Stay for 1 to 5 breaths.
- To come out, as you exhale, lower yourself down to the floor or lift yourself into Downward Facing Dog pose.
- Press up actively from the palms, drawing the shoulders away from the ears to keep yourself from hanging in the pose.
- Draw the chest forward through the arms, moving the shoulder blades towards the tailbone.
- Keep your legs active, ensuring that the knees stay off the ground.
- Start with Cobra pose and move into Upward Facing Dog once you’re ready.
- Look upwards only if you can do so while keeping length in your neck.
- Opens the chest and lungs
- Stretches the front of your body, chest, and intercostal muscles between the ribs.
- Strengthens your wrists, arms, shoulders, upper back, and legs.
- Helps to counteract daily forward flexion activities such as sitting, texting or driving.
Watch out for
- Keep your legs and lower belly engaged to protect your lower back.
- Avoid tilting the head back too much if you are looking up in the pose. Keep your gaze at eye level if you have any neck injuries.
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- Experiment with a variation of the pose by keeping your toes tucked.
- Try gently swaying your upper body from side to side once you’re in the pose.