Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)
This asana is performed in following way:
- Lie down on the floor with the front of the body on the floor, body must be in a straight line with your legs together. The top of your feet must rest on the floor and toes must point backwards. Now rest one side of the head on the floor. Relax your arms by the side. With your palms facing upwards.
- Place your chin on the floor. Place your feet at least 12 inches apart with toes pointing backwards. Bend your arms at the elbows and place the palms of hands on the floor at either side of the chest; with fingers pointing forwards. Bring the arms close in beside the body with the elbows pointing on the floor.
- Breathe in; push the palms of your hands and tops of the feet into the floor. Raise your head, shoulders, body and the legs a few inches from the floor.
- Breathe out; straightening your arms, pull the body and legs forwards, bringing the chest through in front of the arms curving the body backwards.
- Roll the shoulders back and push them downwards to your waist, keeping them parallel. Bring the shoulder blades close together and relax your buttocks. Drop the head backwards and look up you can feel the front of the body open and expanding.
- Hold this posture for a moment balancing the body weight on the palms and top of your feet and breathe normally.
- Breathe out; bends your arms and lower the front of the legs and body on the floor. Relax the head on one side, relaxing arms by the sides and palms again facing the ceiling.
Benefits of this asana are:
- Strengthens and flexes the spine. As this helps in the stretching of the spinal column.
- Helps in back pains or aches.
- Beneficial for problems as slipped disc.
- Opens and expands your chest.
- Tones the pelvis, and abdomen. It helps in stretching of abdominal muscles. Increasing the metabolism and maintains a healthy digestive system.
- Helps in the reduction of excessive fats accumulated on the abdominal region.
- Tones up the buttocks and the thighs and even reduces the occurrence of cramps in the muscles. Since as it acts specifically on muscles of very particular region so it increases the oxygen sufficiency.
Precautionary measures while performing this asana are;
- It should not be practiced if you have severe abdominal problems.
- Must be approached with caution if you are having back or neck problems.
- Do not drop the head backwards if you are having stiffness of neck or problems in the neck areas. Stretch to a limit as much as it is convenient for you.