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Upward Facing Dog

Exercise Profile

Body PartBack
EquipmentBody weight
Primary MusclesErector Spinae
Secondary MusclesDeltoid Anterior, Gluteus Maximus, Pectoralis Major Clavicular Head, Pectoralis Major Sternal Head, Rectus Abdominis
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Introduction to the Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog is a rejuvenating yoga pose that strengthens the spine, arms, wrists, and improves posture. It's an ideal exercise for individuals seeking to enhance their overall body flexibility and tone their upper body muscles. Engaging in this exercise can help alleviate stress, improve respiratory health, and stimulate abdominal organs, making it a desirable choice for holistic health and wellbeing.

Performing the: A Step-by-Step Tutorial Upward Facing Dog

  • Place your hands on the mat beside your lower ribs, fingers spread wide, and press your palms firmly into the mat.
  • As you inhale, straighten your arms and lift your torso and legs a few inches off the floor, keeping your thighs firm and slightly turned inward with your arms shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears, while you lift through the top of your sternum.
  • Hold the pose for a few breaths, then gently release your body back to the mat on an exhale.

Tips for Performing Upward Facing Dog

  • Engage Your Legs: To get the most out of the Upward Facing Dog, it's important to engage your legs. Press the tops of your feet down into the mat, and lift your thighs and knees off the floor. This not only strengthens your leg muscles but also helps to protect your lower back.
  • Avoid Crunching Your Neck: Another common mistake is crunching the neck by looking up too high. Instead, keep your gaze forward and your neck long. This will help maintain a proper alignment and prevent neck strain.
  • Core Engagement: Engage your core muscles throughout the pose to support your lower back. This is a key technique that can help you hold the pose longer and with more ease.
  • Don't Rush: It's important not to

Upward Facing Dog FAQs

Can beginners do the Upward Facing Dog?

Yes, beginners can do the Upward Facing Dog exercise, also known as Urdhva Mukha Svanasana in yoga. However, it's important to learn the correct form to avoid injury. It can be helpful to start with a modified version or under the guidance of a trained instructor. As with any exercise, if you feel any pain or discomfort, you should stop immediately and consult with a healthcare professional.

What are common variations of the Upward Facing Dog?

  • Sphinx Pose is another variation where you lie on your stomach, prop yourself up on your forearms, and lift your chest off the ground, offering a less strenuous stretch for your back.
  • Baby Cobra Pose is a more gentle version of the Cobra Pose, where you only lift your chest a few inches off the ground, which is ideal for beginners or those with back issues.
  • High Cobra Pose is a more advanced variation of the Cobra Pose, where you lift your chest higher off the ground, increasing the stretch in your back and opening up your chest more.
  • Modified Upward Facing Dog is a variation where you keep your knees on the ground, reducing the intensity of the stretch and making it more accessible for beginners or those with less flexibility.

What are good complementing exercises for the Upward Facing Dog?

  • The Downward Facing Dog works in harmony with the Upward Facing Dog by providing a counter-stretch to the spine, helping to balance the body by strengthening the arms, legs, and torso, and enhancing overall body circulation.
  • The Child's Pose is another beneficial exercise that complements the Upward Facing Dog as it provides a gentle stretch to the hips, thighs, and ankles, acts as a restorative posture to relieve stress or fatigue that may result from the intensity of the Upward Facing Dog, and aids in maintaining the flexibility of the spine.

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