Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: get to know the Face-Up Dog Pose
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana is a yoga pose. Its name comes from the Sanskrit words Urdhva meaning high, mukha meaning face, svan meaning dog and asana meaning posture or sitting.
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana, or Face-Up Dog Pose, is an asana that leans back in modern yoga as exercise. It is commonly part of the widely performed Surya Namaskar sequence, although similar Bhujangasana can be used there.
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Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: how to do it
To perform Urdhva Mukha Svanasana you need to follow these steps:
1. Lie on your stomach, with legs, and feet fully extended. Place your palms on the floor near the pelvis so that your forearms are perpendicular to the floor.
2. Press your hands against the floor as well as the instep and raise the trunk, stretching the arms. Firmly press the inside of the hands (base of the index and thumb fingers), gently rotating the forearms internally but rotating the arms outward to open the chest. Also press your instep against the floor, slightly lifting your legs off the floor. The thighs should be active by slightly turning them inwards.
3. Activate your abdomen, pulling it in and up towards the head. Imagine that you want to turn the coccyx toward the floor, stretching your lower back.
4. Lower the shoulders away from the ears. Raise the sternum by opening the chest. Just like in bhujangasana, tilt your head back slightly only after you have straightened your neck and lowered your shoulders. Do not leave your head hanging back to avoid putting pressure on the cervical.
5. To undo the position you can simply rest your body on the floor or move to Adho Mukha Svanasana if you are saluting in the sun.
Benefits of Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
- Strengthens the spine, back muscles, arms, and wrists;
- Stretches shoulders, chest, and abdomen;
- Stimulates the abdominal organs;
- Helps relieving your back pain;
- Especially beneficial for those with asthma, sciatica, depression.
Suggestions for beginners
Those with less experience or flexibility often make the mistake of “hanging” in position by letting their shoulders rise towards their ears, “swallowing” their necks. To avoid this, place your knees on the floor or stand with your hands on blocks.
Contraindications and precautions
- Back injuries.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
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