Upward-Facing Dog Pose — Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (OORD-vuh MOO-kuh shvan-AHS-uh-nuh) — is a back-bending yoga posture that lengthens and strengthens the spine, torso, and arms. Its name comes from four Sanskrit words:
- “Urdhva” — meaning “upward”
- “Mukha” — meaning “face”
- “Svana” — meaning “dog”
- “Asana” — meaning “pose”
Like most yoga poses, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana must be performed at least 3-5 hours after a meal and it is preferable that your stomach and bowels should be empty at this time. Even though Urdhva Mukha Svanasana is an easy yoga pose, you can perform a few preparatory asanas as this will prepare you both physically and mentally to perform this pose. You can learn a few Urdhva Mukha Svanasana prep poses such as Bhujangasana (Cobra pose), Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose), and Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand pose) before you learn how to do Upward Facing Dog Pose pose
Let go of that silly, silly belief that you need to lift your chin. Let that be the icing on the cake. Think this pose more of a chest opener than backbend. Drawing the nose into the face helps to lengthen the neck and melt the shoulders away from the ears, creating more space to open up.
Oh, and BREATHE! Otherwise, you will die…which, if you think about it, kinda misses the point of all this stuff.
Upward-Facing Dog Step-by-Step
- From Table pose, slowly drop the hips forward toward the floor.
- Press palms down into the floor, drop the shoulders down and back, press the chest forward, and reach the crown of the head up towards the ceiling.
- Inhale and lift thighs and legs off of the floor by pressing the tops of the feet down and engaging Mula Bandha.
- Breathe and hold for 1-3 breaths.
- To release: bend the knees and lift the hips back up into Table Pose.
Benefits of Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
- Best exercise for your wrists.
- Beneficial for lower back coz this pose stretches the lower back muscles.
- Stretches the muscles of the shoulders and chest also.
- It tones and stimulates the abdominal muscles and organs
- It improves the posture of the body.
- Beneficial for chest, heart and lungs.
- It stretches the upper back and front of your body
- Gives strength to your shoulders, wrists, arms and back bone.