Saturday, August 10, 2013

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Upward Facing Dog

Courtney Ronca doing Upward Facing Dog


Urdhva Mukha Svanasana can start at the end of Chaturanga Dandasana.

How to do it after Chaturanga Dandasana :

When you are in the final stage of Chaturanga Dandasana, your chest will be parallel with the floor.  Your arms will be in a perfect 90 degree angle hugging your torso. Your wrists will be directly below your shoulders.

To get into upward facing dog, you will press through your toes and move your torso forward.  You will then roll over your toes so the tops of your feet will be flat against the floor. Pressing through your hands, and straighten your arms as you bring your chest up.  Your chest will almost perpendicular to the floor.  Lengthen through your chest.

As your torso moves up, press through the tops of your feet so your legs will lightly lift up as well. Your arms should be hugging your torso. Try not to compress your lower back. You want to feel a lengthening of the spine.


Option 1: Bend your elbows if having your arms straight causes too much strain.

Option 2: You can leave your thighs and shins on the floor instead of lifting them off the floor.

Option 3: You don’t have to roll over your toes coming from chaturanga dandasana. You can simply lift each foot up and place the tops of your feet down to the floor. Be gentil.

Drishti (Where you should look):

Urdhva Drishti: Look forward and slightly up.

Why we do it: 

This is a great pose to strengthen the back, expand the chest, and expand the shoulders.

About the photo: 

The photo is of my dear friend Courtney Ronca. Courtney began practicing yoga in 2005 while she was a graduate student in college, but it wasn't until her move into the bay area in 2007, that she met her teacher Anirudh Shastri and decided she wanted to teach. Since her move in 2007, Courtney has completed two 200 hour teacher training programs, and one 500 hour teacher training program under Sri Dharma Mittra.

Courtney has a knack for making the impossible possible for students. She has a special ability of breaking down complex poses, and making them attainable.

You can find her teaching at: Peacebank Yoga in Redwood City, CA, Studio Rincon in Menlo Park, CA, East West Yoga in Cupertino, CA and San Jose State University in San Jose, CA.

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