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Urdhva mukha svanasana (ऊर्ध्वमुखश्वानासन)

Ūrdhva mukha śvānāsana (Sanskrit: ऊर्ध्वमुखश्वानासन; Sanskrit pronunciation: [urd̪ʱhvə mukʰə ɕʋɑːn̪ɑːs̪ən̪ə]; IAST: Urdhva mukha śvānāsana) or Upward Facing Dog Pose is an asana.

The name comes from the Sanskrit words ūrdhva meaning “up”, mukha meaning “face”, śvān meaning “dog” and āsana (आसन) meaning “posture” or “seat”.

Step by Step:-

  1. Lie prone on the floor. Stretch your legs back, with the tops of your feet on the floor. Bend your elbows and spread your palms on the floor beside your waist so that your forearms are relatively perpendicular to the floor.
  2. Inhale and press your inner hands firmly into the floor and slightly back, as if you were trying to push yourself forward along the floor. Then straighten your arms and simultaneously lift your torso up and your legs a few inches off the floor on an inhalation. Keep the thighs firm and slightly turned inward, the arms firm and turned out so the elbow creases face forward.
  3. Press the tailbone toward the pubis and lift the pubis toward the navel. Narrow the hip points. Firm but don’t harden the buttocks.
  4. Firm the shoulder blades against the back and puff the side ribs forward. Lift through the top of the sternum but avoid pushing the front ribs forward, which only hardens the lower back. Look straight ahead or tip the head back slightly, but take care not to compress the back of the neck and harden the throat.
  5. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana is one of the positions in the traditional Sun Salutation sequence. You can also practice this pose individually, holding it anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. Release back to the floor or lift into Adho Mukha Svanasana with an exhalation.

Anatomical Focus:-

Wrists

Therapeutic Applications:-

Sciatica

Beginner’s Tip:-

There’s a tendency in this pose to “hang” on the shoulders, which lifts them up toward the ears and “turtles” the neck. Actively draw the shoulders away from the ears by lengthening down along the back armpits, pulling the shoulder blades toward the tailbone, and puffing the side ribs forward. If you need help learning this, lift each hand on a block.

Deepen The Pose:-

To increase the strength and lightness of this pose, push from the backs of your knees along the calves and out through the heels. The tops of your feet will press more firmly against the floor; as they do, lift the top sternum up and forward.

Benefits:-

  • Improves posture, strengthens the spine, arms, wrists
  • Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
  • Firms the buttocks
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Helps relieve mild depression, fatigue, and sciatica
  • Therapeutic for asthma.




Contraindications:-

  • Back injury
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Headache
  • Pregnancy

Cautions:-

Common postural errors during this asana include overarching the neck and lower back. One recommendation is to keep the gaze directed down at the floor and focus on bringing movement into the area between the shoulder blades (the thoracic area, or middle back)

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