Urd­hva Mukha Svanasana

Ex­pe­ri­ence a surge of en­ergy as you move step by step into Urd­hva Mukha Svanasana.

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Urd­hva = Up­ward · Mukha = Face · Svana = Dog · Asana = Pose

Up­ward- Fac­ing Dog Pose

BEN­E­FITS En­er­gizes the front line of your body; lifts your spir­its; strength­ens your hands, wrists, arms, shoul­ders, up­per back, ab­dom­i­nals, hip flex­ors, and quadri­ceps.

IN­STRUC­TION

1 Be­gin in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Down­ward-Fac­ing Dog Pose), which is a coun­ter­pose to Urd­hva Mukha Svanasana. Keep the front of your body long and your ch­est lifted. Move the tops of your thighs back, firm­ing the fronts of your legs. Avoid grip­ping the front of your ribs (pulling them to­ward one an­other and to­ward your pelvis) which will flex your spine. Keep your head in line with your spine.

2 Move for­ward into Plank Pose by reach­ing through the crown of your head with­out round­ing your back or mov­ing through a wave. In­stead, main­tain a line from the crown of your head to your sit­ting bones, as though a thread is pulling you for­ward while your heels re­sist back. Keep your legs firm and straight.

3 Reach­ing far­ther for­ward through the crown of your head, be­gin to draw your ch­est for­ward through your arms. Roll your shoul­ders open and pull them down your back as you move the sides of your waist for­ward. Imag­ine that you’re draw­ing a ping-pong ball deep into your lower ab­domen from just above your pu­bic bone, which will help sup­port your lum­bar spine.

Stretch back through your toes as though push­ing the floor away from you. This is a good place to stop if your back has reached its end range of mo­tion, which may present as a pinch­ing sen­sa­tion in your lower back or a hy­per­ex­ten­sion of your wrists. Put your knees down if you need to take stress off your back.

Roll over your toes while your hips are low (or put your knees down, point your toes, and then straighten your knees again). Press your outer an­kles in to avoid sick­ling your feet. Move your ch­est for­ward as though it were lifted by a wind at your back— with your legs teth­er­ing your up­per body like the string of a mighty kite.

Press down through your hands while lift­ing the front of your ch­est, be­ing care­ful not to press so much that you start to round your up­per back, nor so lit­tle that you sag be­tween your shoul­ders. Take the bot­tom of your shoul­der blades straight down as you did in Dan­dasana, press­ing your hands away from one other against the re­sis­tance of the mat. Th­ese ac­tions will help you open and lift your ch­est with ease. Try fo­cus­ing on press­ing your in­dex fin­gers and thumbs down to help lift the front of your ch­est.

Keep your head level and your gaze straight ahead, un­til you know how to look up with­out col­laps­ing your shoul­ders and lower back. Even­tu­ally, you can lift your face to the sky, cre­at­ing a full stretch of your front body from your toes to your chin. Mean­while, this is a safe and el­e­gant way to en­joy the pose. Stay here for 5–20 slow breaths.

To come out, re­verse this se­quence, rolling over your toes while your hips are low (or putting your knees down and flex­ing your feet). Re­lease your back in a long Adho Mukha Svanasana.

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