One of the best-known and most commonly used positions in Yoga is Urdhva mukha svanasana or upward facing dog. This Yoga posture or asana receives this name because it simulates the position adopted by the dogs when stretching.
We can perform upward facing dog as an isolated posture in itself, although it is more used as a transition between other asanas, for example in Sun Salutation.
The benefits of Urdhva Mukha Svanasana are multiples,
- it strengthens the spine;
- stretches chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen;
- helps to relieve stress and fatigue;
- improves posture
- firms the buttocks, and;
- reputedly soothes sciatica.
How to perform upward facing dog
- Lying on your front, feet width apart and toes back.
- Place your hands beside your lower side ribs and your fingers pointing forward.
- Draw your navel in and root your tailbone down.
- With an inhalation, ground firmly into your palms and tops of the feet, and lift your body from the floor.
- Feel you are lifting your chest bone through your upper arms.
Tips to do a perfect Urdha mukha svanasana
When performing upward facing dog, you must ensure that you do not hyper extend your elbows, and that the hands are directly under the shoulders. Actively draw the shoulders away from the ears. With your fingers well open, feel that you are pushing strongly away from the floor with them, this will help you maintain the posture for longer.