November 8, 2012

Upward Facing Dog, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog), I'll refer to Upward Facing Dog by the acronym "UFD". UFD is a common Yoga pose that's not necessary to achieve the deepest arch for therapeutic benefits. Your working toward a smooth evenness from the hips to the head feeling an even arc.

If you find UFD pose to be to difficult or uncomfortable start with my previous posts of backbends: Sphinx PoseLow Cobra or Cobra Pose.

Come into UFD pose by lying face down, legs extended and long, palms next to the chest where they naturally lie, then take them just a little closer toward the hips. Inhaling pressing the tops of the feet into the floor simultaneously lifting the head, neck and shoulders, while pressing the hands into the floor a little toward the hips so you're lengthening the spine forward. With the arms next to the body continue straightening them to the point you're lifting the torso, hips and legs off the floor balancing between the tops of the feet and hands. Hands under the shoulders, thighs firm and slightly turned in, firm the buttocks without hardening them. Lengthen the back of the neck and draw the shoulder blades together and down the back. Lift through the sternum and top of the head lengthening the spine and gaze toward the end of the nose.

If the hands are too far forward it can cause low back pressure. To help relieve pressure on the low back, press the tailbone down by slightly tilting the hips back.

Hold the pose from 15 to 30 seconds if it's comfortable, breathing easily. As you return to the floor lengthen forward as you're coming down to lengthen the spine.

Adding UFD to a regular practice can have many benefits: Strengthens the spine, arms, wrists and abdomen. Stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders and firms the buttocks. Also increasing flexibility to the spine and improves posture. Opens the rib cage to increase the breath capacity. Also stretches the quadriceps (front of the thigh) and the hip flexors (front of the hip).

UFD is a great backbending pose that's healthy for the back countering the 3Cs (Computer, Couch and Car) which we spend hours a day sitting with poor posture.

Happy & Healthy,
Yoga Chuck

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