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Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog is a fundamental yoga pose that primarily targets the muscles in your upper body and back. This pose is often incorporated into yoga flow sequences and is known for its ability to improve spinal flexibility, strengthen the arms and shoulders, and open up the chest. To perform Upward Facing Dog, start by lying face down on your yoga mat or the floor. Place your hands next to your shoulders, keeping your elbows close to your body. Press firmly through your palms and the tops of your feet, engaging your core muscles. As you inhale, use the strength of your arms to lift your torso off the ground. Keep your thighs and knees off the floor, and gaze forward or slightly upward. Your shoulders should be relaxed, away from your ears. Ensure that your wrists are aligned with your shoulders, and distribute the weight evenly through your hands. The pose can be held for several breaths or incorporated into a flowing sequence. Remember to listen to your body and modify the pose as needed. Upward Facing Dog is an effective exercise to counteract the effects of sitting for long periods, improve posture, and cultivate overall body awareness. Regular practice of this pose can help improve back strength, enhance flexibility, and promote a sense of energy and openness in your body. However, it's important to warm up your body properly before attempting Upward Facing Dog and to avoid any movements that cause pain or discomfort.


  • Start by lying face down on the floor, with your legs extended behind you and the tops of your feet flat on the ground.
  • Place your palms on the floor next to your lower ribs, with your fingers pointing towards your shoulders.
  • Press your hands firmly into the ground, straightening your arms and lifting your chest off the floor.
  • Keep your legs engaged and slightly off the ground, with your thighs and knees lifted.
  • Open your chest and gently lift your gaze upward, lengthening your neck.
  • Ensure your shoulders are down and relaxed, away from your ears.
  • Hold the pose for a few breaths, maintaining a steady and controlled breath.
  • To release, lower your chest back down to the floor, untuck your toes, and relax your whole body.

Tips & Tricks

  • Incorporate this exercise as part of a regular yoga practice for best results.
  • Focus on engaging your core muscles while performing the Upward Facing Dog pose.
  • Maintain proper alignment by keeping your wrists under your shoulders and your hips in line with your knees.
  • Breathe deeply and fully during each repetition to enhance the stretching and strengthening benefits.
  • Start with a modified version of the pose by keeping your knees on the ground until you build enough strength and flexibility to lift them up.
  • Experiment with different variations of the pose, such as lifting one leg off the ground or interlocking your fingers behind your back, to challenge your body and improve your overall strength.
  • Avoid excessive strain on your lower back by gently engaging your glutes and lengthening your tailbone towards your heels.
  • Practice proper shoulder positioning by rolling your shoulder blades down and back, away from your ears.
  • Listen to your body and modify the pose as needed, especially if you have any pre-existing injuries or conditions that may affect your range of motion.
  • Pair this exercise with other complementary yoga poses or a well-rounded exercise routine to strengthen your entire body and improve your flexibility.