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Yoga Postures

> Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Common name: Upward-facing dog pose

Sanskrit: Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

English: urdva=up; mukha=face; svana=dog; asana=pose

Level: Beginner  

Photo Credit: 
 
Left and right: Denise Balioz http://www.denisebalyozyoga.com/
 

Instructions

  • Start lying face-down on the mat with hands under shoulders, fingers spread. Elbows are back and close to the body. Legs are straight and together, toes flat.
  • Inhale and lift upper body and the legs from the mat, straightening arms and drawing the shoulders down the back.
  • Keep the leg and buttock muscles firm, legs together, upper feet grounding into the mat.
  • Work on opening and lifting the chest through the arms, while engaging the core muscles, drawing the navel towards the spine and avoiding flaring the ribs out.
  • The gaze is forward or slightly upward, but the neck stays long and spacious.
  • Continue to breathe steadily, lengthening on the inhale. Hold for 3 breaths, perhaps extending this over time
  • To come out of the pose, come to the floor and draw back into Balasana, child's pose, with arms either side of the body, or tuck or roll the toes over and lift up into Adho Mukha Svanasana (down-facing dog pose).
  • Work towards the pose from Sphinx or Cobra pose, developing strength in the back, shoulders and core. Use props to support, such as a folded blanket or mat under the front thighs.
  • Benefits

  • strengthens back, arm and buttock muscles
  • builds suppleness in shoulder muscles
  • stimulates the digestion
  • improves breathing and expands the chest
  • energising the body
  • can reduce tension, tiredness
  • can relieve sciatica.
  • Contraindications and Cautions

  • Back injury
  • Wrist or hand problems (try padding the heels of the hands, or adopt Sphinx pose)
  • headache and migraine
  • Pregnancy
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