Upward Salute
March 27, 2015
Warrior 1 Pose
March 27, 2015

Upward-Facing Dog

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
(OORD-vah MOO-kah shvon-AHS-anna)
urdhva = upward
mukha = face
svana = dog

BENEFITS

  • Opens the chest (heart chakra)
  • Increases flexibility of the spine
  • Strengthens the arms, wrists, shoulders, and spine
  • Stretches the abdomen, hip flexors, and lungs
  • Improves posture, lung capacity, and circulation
  • Relieves sciatica, fatigue, and mild depression

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Low back pain
  • Spine or neck injuries
  • Pregnancy

HOW TO

  1. Lie on your stomach with your legs extended behind you and the tops of your feet on the floor.
  2. Bend your elbows and place your palms on the floor beside your lower ribs, fingers spread wide. The fingertips should align with the bottom of your chest.
  3. Inhale and press down through the palms and tops of your feet. Straighten your arms and lift your chest, as well as your legs, off the floor.
  4. Squeeze your elbows by your sides and firm your thighs, rotating them slightly inward.
  5. Roll your shoulder blades down your back and open your heart, lifting the sternum forward. Press your tailbone toward the pelvis and draw your belly in to lengthen the torso.
  6. Reach the crown of your head toward the sky and let your gaze follow, or look straight ahead.
  7. Hold this pose for five slow breaths, or for one breath if you are practicing as part of a flow. To release, exhale and lower your torso back down or lift into Downward-Facing Dog.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

Alternatives:

  • Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)

Modifications:

  • If lifting the legs off the floor is difficult, rest the top of your thighs on a blanket.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Ground down through the tops of the feet.
  • Inwardly rotate the thighs to activate your legs.
  • Keep your feet together and engaged, pressing down into the ground.
  • Lift through the sternum, drawing the shoulders away from the ears.

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Shoulders crunching toward ears
  • Feet sickling in or toes tucked under
  • Lifting the chin too high, creating a kink in the back of the neck