This month we are looking at Urdhva Mukha Svanasana also known as upward facing dog. I love the bodylines of this asana, it is such a sleek, strong looking pose.
The upward and open nature of the head and chest is a nice change for most busy people who are always head down and butt up racing around the playground of life.
This asana is a great pose to practise in the morning facing the sun and contemplating the upside of life. I guess it is for this reason, that Urdhva Mukha Svanasana is such an integral part of the well-known yoga asana sequence known as the Salute to the Sun or Surya Namaskar.
So this month, I suggest we all take some time out to appreciate the upside of our lives, with a few breath rotations, and blissfully practise upward facing dog with the morning sun shining down on our fortunate faces.
The benefits of this asana don’t stop there:
- Improves posture
- Opens shoulders and back
- Strengthens the spine, arms, wrists
- Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
- Firms the buttocks
- Tones the legs
- Stimulates abdominal organs
- Helps relieve mild depression, fatigue, and sciatica
- Expands the chest
- Therapeutic for asthma
Please follow these steps to practise upward facing dog:
- Lie face down on the floor, legs straight and about a hand span apart, tops of the feet on the floor. Bend your elbows and spread your palms on the floor beside your waist so that your forearms are at about a 90 degree angle to the floor.
- Inhale and press your hands firmly into the floor, press the tops of your feet into the floor also. Pull your chest forward to the front and roll your shoulders down your back.
- Exhale, straighten your arms and simultaneously lift your torso up and your legs a few inches off the floor. Press the thighs back slightly, the arms are straight and turned out so the elbow creases face the thumb. If you are having trouble here with stiff shoulders use a block or a blanket under your hands for support (see photo one).
- Press the tailbone toward the pelvis and lift the pelvis toward the navel. Narrow the hip points. Firm but don’t harden the buttocks.
- Firm the shoulder blades against the back and expand the side ribs forward. Lift through the top of the chest but avoid pushing the front ribs forward. Look straight ahead, crown of the head rising. The shoulders should be directly on top of the wrists, the legs are free and clear from the floor and the chest open (see photo two).
- Hold for 30 seconds – 1 minute and rest, repeat as desired.
Enjoy your time in the sun!
Metta, Kim oxo