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Yoga Styles & Poses


The upward facing dog, often referred to as Urdhva Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit, is a fundamental yoga pose renowned for its invigorating effects on the body and mind. This pose is a cornerstone of many yoga sequences, seamlessly transitioning practitioners from the earthy stability of the mat to a graceful upward extension. In upward facing dog, the body unfurls with a sense of fluidity and strength, creating a dynamic arch that opens the chest and heart towards the sky. As the spine gently curves, the shoulders roll back, offering a counterbalance to the daily hunching and rounding of modern life. Beyond its physical benefits, this pose fosters a profound connection to breath and inner resilience, inviting practitioners to cultivate a sense of expansion and vitality with each mindful breath.

How do you do Upward Facing Dog?

Step 1.

This pose is most commonly entered from a plank or low push-up position, starting on hands and feet. Find an upward facing dog by shifting the weight to the tops of your feet where your shoe laces would be, lowering your hips to the floor and lifting your heart.

Step 2.

Press down into your palms with arms straight, retract your scapula, engage your back muscles, reaching chest forward, crown of head towards the sky.

Step 3.

Engage your legs, glutes, core, and back muscles to keep your knees and hips lifted off the mat.

Step 4.

Keep your core (from glutes up to shoulders) engaged to avoid sinking into shoulders or low back.

Step 5.

Drag your hands apart energetically to continue opening your chest and collarbones. Gaze forward or slightly upward, keeping your neck in line with your spine.

Benefits of Upward Facing Dog

Strengthens the muscles along the spine, including the erector spinae, rhomboids, and trapezius muscles. By building strength in these muscles, Upward Facing Dog helps to support the spine and reduce the risk of back pain and injury.
Helps improve overall posture by strengthening the muscles that support proper spinal alignment, a more open chest and lifted heart.
Stretches the abdominal muscles, helping to release tension and improve flexibility in the front body.
Helps to increase energy levels and stimulate the nervous system by encouraging deep, invigorating breaths.

Variations of Upward Facing Dog

Low cobra is a gentler variation that offers a deep stretch in the spine. The arms are bent, elbows close to the lower ribcage, where the chest is lifted but the pelvis, hips, and thighs remain in contact with the mat.
In this advanced variation, the hands are lifted off the mat while maintaining the posture of the pose. Engage the muscles of the arms, back, and core to support the weight of the body while enhancing body awareness and control.
Keep toes tucked under, heels over balls of feet

Other Yoga Poses to Try

  • The Downward Dog yoga pose, known as “Adho Mukha Svanasana” in Sanskrit, has a rich history rooted in ancient yoga traditions. The pose finds its origins in the practice of Hatha Yoga, a branch that focuses on physical postures to

  • The 4-Limbed Staff yoga pose tones the arms, strengthens the core, increases upper body strength, and prepares the body for arm balances and inversions.

  • The forward fold yoga pose, also known as Uttanasana, is a fundamental posture that embodies a gentle surrender and deep release within the practice.


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