Upward facing dog, or urdhva mukha svanasana is a foundational pose. It is part of the sequence of sun salutations, which we perform as we warm-up during class and as we transition between poses. To come into the full expression of upward facing dog, first press your palms into your mat and ground down through your index finger and thumb knuckles. Bring a micro-bend to your elbows and pull your shoulder blades onto your back. Press your shoelace edge of your feet down into your mat and lift your legs off the mat as you hug your legs muscles in to the bones.
Upward facing dog is considered a heart-opener. Heart openers allow us to be open to possibilities and let positive energy flow in. To enhance this effect, expand through your chest and upper back while you press your thoracic spine toward your chest.
This pose is often the first backbend performed in each class. This makes it especially important to protect your low back. Pull the front of your pelvis up toward your belly button and pull your belly button into your spine.
Upward facing dog is a foundational pose which can often be overlooked. As we complete our Sun Salutations and move quickly from high to low plank, then upward facing dog to downward facing dog we can blast through upward facing dog without mindfully being in the pose. During sun salutations when you transition to upward facing dog take a moment to fully integrate your alignment, set your gaze to one still point forward and up, and inhale fully.
To learn more about this pose and book a spot in our upcoming Discover Your Power Yoga Teacher Training.