Upward Facing Dog - Urdhva Mukha Svanasana - The Yoga Collective

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Upward Facing Dog – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Pose Summary

Upward Facing Dog aka Updog is a common posture in both Vinyasa and Ashtanga practices. This advanced back bending posture should only be practiced by those who are physically strong enough to get into and hold it without too much strain on the body and breath. If you are newer to yoga we recommend mastering Cobra Pose first before moving on to this posture.

Yoga Collective - Upward Facing Dog – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Steps

Step 1

Start by lying belly-down with the arms along side the body, the legs extended behind you and hips distance. Tops of the feet are on the earth. 

Step 2

Place your hands, with the fingers spread wide next to your lower ribs. Your fingertips should be inline with your nipples. 

Step 3

Elbows are directly above your wrists and are hugging the ribcage. 

Step 4

On an inhale, engage the core, press the palms of your hands firmly into the earth and straighten your arms, lifting the chest and legs off the earth. Be sure not to lock the elbows here by keeping a microbend in them. 

Step 5

Press the tops of the feet into the earth to keep your legs engaged and lifted off the earth 

 

Step 6

Broaden the collarbones. Draw the shoulders away from the ears as you lift your chest and heart towards the sky. Elbow creases face forward. 

Step 7

The backbend should be focused in the thoracic spine, the area behind the heart. Make sure not to dump in the lower back. 

Step 8

Your gaze can be forward or upwards. Be sure not to crunch the back of the neck.

Step 9

To release, gently lower back down onto your belly, re-extend your arms along side your body, turn the head to either side and bring your cheek to rest on the earth. 

Benefits

  • Stretches the spine and belly 
  • Strengthens the wrists, arms, shoulders, buttocks and thighs 
  • Opens up the chest and lungs which can help alleviate symptoms of asthma
  • Helps improve digestion 
  • Energizes the body and mind

Contraindications

  • Carpal Tunnel 
  • Back or wrist injury 
  • 2nd & 3rd trimester pregnancy