Urdva mukha svanasana a pose often rushed through or misaligned even by more experienced practitioners. Here are some things to remember while working towards your ultimate upward facing dog:
1) Push ten toe nails into the ground.
2) Firm the thighs. Think knee caps lifted by the strength of the thigh muscles.
3) Bandhas engaged. What does this mean? Imagine you’re wearing a pair of muscular underwear. Lift the front it. Pull it way up!! Engaging the lower abs and imagining there is a shelf between your legs and lifting that shelf up helps too.
4) Wrists under the shoulders then roll the shoulders back… Roll em back. Roll them back back back.
5) You can look up but don’t let the head flop back. Keep jalandhara bandha engaged by slightly tucking the chin, even if your head is up. For yoga newbies I wouldn’t suggest looking up at all, only forward. If the shoulder are up near your ears and you throw the head back there can be some serious damage to the neck. Wait until the rest of your updog alignment is spot on before looking up or back.
6) Open the heart! Have you ever seen a dog do this? It is like they are stretching new life into themselves. They press the chest open with their whole soul and you can practically feel the exuberance they emit in this stretch. Do that! Spread your collar bones and think about joy. With each upward facing dog, go to a place that makes you feel joyful! Breathe in and open your heart to the world.
if you have any questions or poses that you would like me to breakdown and write a post about, please mention it in the comment box below 🙂
Lead teacher and founder of Yoga Academy International, Lauren is a globally celebrated yoga instructor. She has been teaching yoga for nearly a decade and comes from a variety of lineages and traditions. Lauren’s appetite for yoga and travel are insatiable. She continues to study with world-class instructors whenever possible, all the while leading her own yoga retreats and workshops. Lauren has solid roots in Hatha yoga with continued studies in Vinyasa flow, Anusara, Ashtanga, Restorative and Yin Yoga. She is inspired by teachers who tell stories. She has studied under Seane Corn, Chris Chavez, MC Yogi, Susan Cohen, Nancy Goodfellow and many others. Lauren is passionate about sharing yoga from an authentic and soulful point of view. She believes that yoga practice can help uncover the veils that hide us from achieving our full potential.