POSTURE BREAKDOWN: Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Pin now, master later!

Pin now, master later!

Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)


  1. Start by laying facedown on the ground.
  2. Engage and reach your legs back, pressing the tops of your feet onto the ground.
  3. Spreading your fingers, place your hands on the ground next to your waist (forearms are perpendicular to the floor)
  4. Inhale and straighten your arms as you reach your chest forward and up.
  5. Palms are pressed firmly into the ground and slightly back as if you were trying to pull yourself forward.
  6. Legs are engaged and lifted off the ground.
  7. Shoulders are back and shoulder blades and pressed against your back and down.
  8. Gaze is straight ahead or slightly up.
  9. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
  10. After 3-5 breaths slowly press back into downward facing dog

NOTE: There is a tendency in this pose to relax the shoulders which ends up bringing them up by your ears. Remember to keep your shoulders away from your ears by actively pressing your shoulder blades down your back and puffing your side ribs up and forward.

Benefits (Source: Yoga Journal)

  • Improves your posture
  • Strengthens your arms, wrists, spine
  • Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
  • Firms the buttocks
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Helps relieve mild depression, fatigue, and sciatica
  • Therapeutic for asthma


Do not try this pose if you are pregnant.

Prep Poses (do these before upward-facing dog)

Follow-Up Poses (do these after upward-facing dog)

  • Backbends (Camel, Bridge, Wheel, etc)