Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (OORD-vah MOO-kah shvon-AHS-anna) – Upward Facing Dog Pose
In Downward Facing dog we ground down and turn inward, while in Upward Facing Dog we turn up, lift and open the heart. As well as being a powerful heart opener, it is a backbend, and when performed in a gentle way as all backbends should be, it will create space and warmth within the heart center as well as release through the back. This pose can be done alone holding for a few breaths or as a pose in a vinyasa sequence after chaturanga and before downward facing dog.
Benefits (from yogajournal.com)
- 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
From Plank (push-up pose) with fingers spread under the shoulders, start to bend the elbows (hugging into the body) and lower yourself slowly into chaturanga (low push-up), pausing here for a breath.
Then gently push forward, rolling over your toes, lift through your heart, relax your shoulders down and grow open to Upward facing dog (modification, thighs on the floor with a baby heart opening lift-cobra).
Thighs can stay on the earth or lift for the full expression. Keep even weight pressing into tops of the feet.
Come out of this by pressing against the floor with your hands, rolling your toes back over and pushing to downward facing dog.
Create a flow- chaturanga to upward facing dog to chaturanga and back to upward-facing dog. Repeat as many times as you like.
Create a flow from down dog through high plank to upward facing dog and back to downward facing dog. Repeat as many times as you like.
Bend the knees and come into Cobra and practice lifting the knees slowly off the mat.