How to Achieve the Perfect Upward Facing Dog

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana or Upward Facing Dog is and effective backbend and often used as part of the vinyasa flow sequence and proceeds the chaturanga dandasana. 

Young woman wearing all black doing yoga in the park on an eco friendly yoga mat on very green grass and on a sunny day

Benefits

  • Good for stiff backs, pain in the muscles and joints of the lower back, sciatica, and slipped discs
  • Strengthens the wrists, arms, spine and helps backaches
  • Helps to counteract the effects of hours spent hunched over computers or steering wheels
  • Stretches shoulders, chest, abdomen, thighs, and ankles
  • Improves posture

The Pose

  • From Chaturanga Dandasana, inhale and swing your upper body through your palms on the floor
  • Position your elbows over your wrists and palms flat on the floor shoulder width apart
  • Keep your chin tucked slightly as you lengthen the back of your neck 
  • Keeps the knees in place, feet together or hip width apart
  • Stretch the tops of the feet on the floor, toes pointing backwards
  • Reach the chest up and forward
  • Keep the shoulder blades downward towards the lower back
  • Caution: Do not rest the hips on the floor at all during this pose because it will compress the lower spine causing injury

Breaths: Aim to hold for 1 to 5 breaths

Avoid

  • If you have lower back issues
  • Are pregnant and past your first trimester
  • Have shoulder or wrist issues
  • Do not rest your thighs on the floor, positioning your hands in front of your shoulders, or externally rotating your thighs

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