Upward-Facing Dog

What is Upward-Facing Dog?

Upward-Facing Dog is a yoga pose in a Sun Salutation flow that stretches the upper back, chest and abdomen. It’s one of the first backbends you learn in yoga practice, but it must be practiced properly in order to prevent shoulder injury.

How do you do Upward-Facing Dog?

  • Step 1

    Begin lying flat on your stomach. Bend your elbows and bring your hands next to your chest so your forearms are perpendicular to the floor. Draw your shoulder blades together.

  • Step 2

    Press the inner edges of your hands into the floor and slightly backwards as if you were trying to pull your lower spine out of your pelvis. Start to lift your torso off the floor, keeping your legs straight and strong.

  • Step 3

    Inhale and lift your torso further while raising your hips and thighs off the floor. Tilt your head back slightly, but not so far that you compress the back of your neck. Keep your arms straight and legs strong, pressing through the tops of your feet.

How do you modify Upward-Facing Dog?

  • Upward-Facing Dog for Prenatal

  • Upward-Facing Dog for Beginners

What are the benefits of Upward-Facing Dog?

  • Arm Strength

  • Shoulder Stretch

  • Chest Stretch

Expert opinion

Upward-facing dog is a pose that many yogis breeze right through in a flow, almost as an afterthought or pause between standing poses.

When we practice any pose on auto pilot, we risk injury. By practicing upward facing dog with awareness, you can create more space and integration in the body, which brings with it a safer, more enjoyable practice.

Julie Smerdon,Shri Yoga in Brisbane

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