Yoga Pose of the Month- February

Upward Facing Dog - (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Preparation for Upward Facing Dog

Preparation for Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog

Overview:

Aside from Downward Dog, Upward Facing Dog is one of the most known and recognized yoga poses.  It is considered to be one of the easiest of the back-bending poses (cousin to the Cobra pose) and is usually performed during Sun Salutations.

Benefits:

Strengthens:  Arms, Wrists, Back

Stretches:  Chest, Shoulders, Abdominals, Hip Flexors

Positioning:

- To prepare for the pose lie on your stomach with legs long and hip width apart.  Tops of the feet on the ground.

- Bend your elbows and place your palms flat to the ground under the shoulders spreading your fingers wide to stabilize yourself.

- To execute the pose push your palms into the floor while straightening your arms and lifting your chest while lifting your torso and legs a few inches off the ground. Keep thighs firm and slightly turned inward.

- Once fully extended make sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders.  Aligning the wrist, elbow, and shoulder.

- Look straight ahead or let your head tip back slightly (keep it in alignment with your spine).  

- Inhale as the body lifts up.  With each exhale, gently release deeper into a backbend.  Hold for 1-2 minutes or at least 5 breaths then return to starting position.

Tips:  Make sure the body is warm.  Keep your shoulders away from your ears.  Avoid locking the elbows.

Modifications:  Be mindful of this pose if one has lower back problems.  Can modify by keeping the legs and hips in contact with the floor.   Can also bring the torso half way up keeping a bend in the elbows instead of straightening the arms all the way.