Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Upward facing dog

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit means:

Urdhva = Upward
Mukha = Face
Svana = Dog
Asana = Position


This name because it remembers the shape of a dog that stretches upwards. It is considered a backward bending that stretches all the front of the body, makes the backbone flexible and at the same time allows you to increase the force in your arms. This may seems one easy asana but it is more complex than you think! Plus, it is so important to really understand how to perform it because it is a crucial asana during vinyasa flows, the dynamic sequence you perform during a yoga session. So let’s take a look to this asana and find out together how to do it!

How to

  1. First to start running Ardhva Mukha Svanasana, relax on the ground lying on your belly and with your face facing the mat.
  2. Stretch all your legs slightly to the width of the waist and stretch your toes too, holding your toe to the ground.
  3. Now hold your hands well open, just below the shoulders. Keep the elbows near the sides of the body and not too wide for a proper form.
  4. At this point, push your hands to the ground and gently lift your chest. The final position would be with the basin slightly raised from the ground. But it takes time and constant practice to get there. If you can’t get there, just don’t worry and just lift your chest as high as you can. Continue to breathe here by making Bhujangasana, Cobra pose. If you need it, put your buttocks slightly but not too much, they will help you lift your chest.
  5. While raising the chest does not allow the shoulders to close and bend, rather contrast this movement and keep them open and bottom. You can help yourself by activating the shoulder blades and pushing them towards the center of the back.
  6. The thrust of your arms should not be too strong, you must try to bend back as much as your body allows you. Never push too much. In addition, folding should be well distributed across the back. Do not let the lower part, rather than the upper part or vice versa, bend more. Look instead of making the back bend even involve the entire spine.
  7. Once you’ve reached your own limit, if you can you can turn your head backwards, otherwise just look forward. Always remember not to contract your neck and to be very gentle.
  8. At this point, keep the pose for a few seconds for some deep breaths. Of course, the better you can be, the more benefits you will experience.
  9. Finally, gently relax your arms and slowly exit the position. If you feel tired rest for a few seconds lying on the mat, or perform Adho Mukha Svanasana. This is the most common asana you run after upward facing dog as a complementary part of a vinyasa flow.

Benefits of Ardhva Mukha Svanasana

Here are all the benefits of this beautiful asana.

  • The spine becomes much more flexible and, if you have deviations of the vertebral disks, they are corrected and brought back to their original position.
  • The chest is both elongated and open. This opening affects the lungs that open up considerably. This effect is therapeutic for asthma.
  • Your thyroid will work better than it used to.
  • Stress and fatigue are reduced.
  • It helps alleviate the sciatica.
  • Even the kidneys are stimulated by increased circulation in that area
  • The mild forms of depression disappear.
  • Even the shoulders and arms are toned.

Who is Roberta Lipari?

Mixing both her passion for yoga and writing she is trying to spread the word and help people understand all the benefits of meditation, yoga and healthy lifestyle. Yogi since 2014, she relied on the discipline to embark her own inner journey and black out all the negativity and embrace life.

Written by Terpsichore
I always loved to dance. My name literally means "delight of dancing" and I am the re carnation of the muse of dance. I studied dancing, but this is not enough any more. So much knowledge came to my understanding through the centuries such as yoga and pilates and other forms of body exercises.I don't want to miss any of those..!