Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Take special precautions while doing any asana. If you are learning yoga, then take the advice of a knowledgeable person. Do not put any kind of force in the event of pain or unable to do so. Keep in mind that you will be able to succeed only with constant practice.
Brief Introduction Of The Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana is also referred to as Upward Facing Dog Posture. In the Sanskrit language, Urdhva means Upward, Mukha means Face, Svana stands for Dog and Asana for Pose. It is rather pronounced as OORD-vah MOO-kah svon-AHS-anna. This back-bending asana when performed correctly resembles the posture of a dog that stretches upwards. It is also considered to be the cousin to Cobra or Bhujangasana pose since the steps are somewhat similar. Both the backbends are among the easiest backbends offered by yoga. Usually, it belongs to the Surya Namaskar series. It was introduced during the mid-20th century by Krishnamacharya and taken from Surya Namaskar. It was his pupils B.K.S. Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois, who had later made it popular as a yoga asana.
- You should do this Urdhva Mukha Svanasana only on an empty stomach with cleaned bowels. The last meal should be had 4-6 hours before doing this yoga. The best time to practice it is during the early morning hours, when you are fresh, energetic and on empty stomach. It can also be performed in the evenings. But do remember to have a good gap between the practice and your meals. This can help you to practice to the optimum, avoid unwanted side effects as well as derive the benefits.
- You need to start the pose from the prone position with an inhalation. The pose should be like Ashtanga Namaskara or Chaturanga Dandasana that is performed in the Surya Namaskara cycle. Your feet should be a bit apart from one another with stretched out legs. Your outstretched arms and hands should support your entire body weight. This basic yoga belongs to the Vinyasa style and should be practiced for about 15-30 seconds. No repetition will be necessary. It strengthens your wrists, vertebral column and arms. It helps stretch your lungs, thorax, abdomen and shoulders.
How To Do The Urdhva Mukha Svanasana?
- First, lie flat with your belly facing towards the ground. Then place your feet downwards, with arms beside your body.
- Fold gently your elbows. Palms should be kept close to the lowest rib.
- Now breathe in slowly. Press hands on the yoga mat. Lift your hips, torso and knees gently off the mat. Spread your body weight across the top part of your palms and feet.
- Look straight ahead. Tilt slightly your head backward.
- Wrists should be in sync with that of your shoulders. Avoid overstretching your neck.
- Be in this position for a couple of seconds. Now exhale and finally release the hold.
Tips for beginners to do Urdhva Mukha Svanasana correctly
- As an amateur, you may hang on to the shoulders trying to get into this asana. Your shoulders may get close to the ear, while the neck sneaks like that of a turtle.
- Shoulders should be drawn back as well as lengthened down. At the same time, pull the shoulder blades towards the tailbone.
- In case, you fail to do it consciously, then you can use yoga blocks. It allows you to get place your hands to get adequate support to do this asana comfortably. This will also allow your shoulder blades to be in their proper place automatically without you having to put in any effort.
Advanced Urdhva Mukha Svanasana pose alterations
- You can further increase your strength and deepen the stretch.
- For this, you are to press firmly your feet against the floor.
- Doing this act will allow you to lift and push your sternum forward.
- To achieve this, push feet from your knees back part, right through the calves, throughout the feet.
Preparatory Urdhva Mukha Svanasana pose
- Setu Bandhasana
Follow-up Urdhva Mukha Svanasana pose
Benefits Of The Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Dogs are considered to be mans best friend as well as faithful companions. Humans have managed to learn a lot from these friendly animals. Their stretch was never imagined to be so beneficial until it was incorporated into this yoga asana. Practicing this asana is sure to make you quite compassionate while increasing significantly your flexibility level. Given below are a few of the benefits offered by doing this pose.
- It strengthens your wrists and arms since it requires your entire body weight to res to them during the practice.
- It strengthens as well as stretches your back, thereby providing relief from extreme pain felt in the lower back region.
- It firms your buttocks and stretches your chest, shoulders, lungs.
- It stimulates the abdominal organs, thereby boosting digestion.
- It improves your body posture. It helps you to stand erect and straight.
- It helps rejuvenate and energize the whole body. Moreover, you can get immense relief from fatigue, mild depression and sciatica. It also is known to cure asthma and common breathing problems.
Precautions To Be Taken While Doing The Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
You should not practice this asana if you are faced with the following health issues:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Back injuries
- Practicing this asana regularly strengthens your spine making it suppler. It also manages to open up your back part in all directions. Even your hip flexors and thighs frontal part gets stretched in the process. It strengthens your wrists and makes them more flexible. The pose also is known to open up completely the ribcage, while increasing stamina level. This way, you will be able to breathe comfortably to your optimum. Hence, this asana is recommended for all those engaged in active sports and athletes.
- This pose is also known to rejuvenate the spine region. Hence, those suffering from stiff backs, slipped discs, sciatica, lumbago, etc. are recommended to practice it as advised by the practitioner. It also strengthens the spine, while providing lungs with elasticity. Moreover, the pelvic region can experience enhanced blood circulation, thereby keeping it healthy and in good condition. It is often used as prep for performing further deeper backbends and to develop physical strength.
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