Upward-facing dog is usually paired with downward-facing dog as a counter stretch. Proper alignment will ensure you don’t stress the lower back.
UPWARD-FACING DOG BENEFITS
Upward-facing dog helps to:
- stretch the entire front body and tops of the feet
- creates expansion through the chest and lungs
- builds strength in the arms and legs
HOW TO DO UPWARD-FACING DOG
1. Lie facedown on your belly with your head towards the front of your mat.
2. Place your hands on the mat close to your upper rib cage.
3. Point your toes back with the tops of the feet pressed flat against the mat.
4. Press through the hands to lift your torso and legs off the mat, keeping just the tops of your feet pressed down. (The rest of your leg should be hovering above the mat.)
5. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and spread through the collarbones.
6. Reach through the crown of your head to elongate the spine.
If you find this pose too challenging, it is perfectly acceptable to substitute it with a cobra pose instead.
- To take a cobra pose, place the hands beneath the shoulders and lift using the chest and back muscles. Your legs will stay pressed against the mat.
- In this variation the arms should not bear much weight at all. The rise will not be as dramatic as in an upward-facing dog because it would create too much strain on the lower back.
- In all variations, keep the shoulders relaxed and away from the ears.