How to do Upward Facing Dog Pose in Yoga

How to do Upward Facing Dog Pose in Yoga

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, also known as Upward-Facing Dog Pose, this potent backbend gracefully unfurls your heart, elevates your head, and fosters enhanced posture—an orchestration of physical movements capable of combating feelings of fatigue and depression.

During this pose, the weight gracefully shifts to the palms of your hands and the tops of your feet. However, care should be taken not to let your chest cave in, which could place undue strain on your lower back. To safeguard your wrists and lower back, ensure your wrists align directly under your shoulders, and gently draw your shoulder blades rearward, unfurling your chest.

Should you find your upper back somewhat tight, it is crucial to prepare with complementary poses, such as the Baby Cobra Pose, before embarking on the journey of Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. This thoughtful approach ensures that your lower back doesn't inadvertently overcompensate during the pose, creating a harmonious and stimulating yoga experience.

Upward Facing Dog Pose

Step-by-Step Guide Of Upward Facing Dog

The Upward Facing Dog meditation is a great place to start if you want to improve your yoga practice. This pose is known for strengthening the arms, shoulders, and back while opening up the chest and increasing flexibility.

  • Starting Position: Begin the pose by lying on your stomach on a yoga mat or directly on the floor, arms placed alongside your ribs, fingers pointing forward, and elbows snugly tucked in at your sides.
  • Foundation & Alignment: Press the tops of your feet firmly into the floor, engaging your thighs and knees. Keep your tailbone directed towards your heels, creating a stable base.
  • Inhalation & Lift: On an inhalation, push into your hands and feet, straightening your arms and lifting both your chest and legs off the floor.
  • Core Engagement: Activate your lower belly muscles and draw your lower ribs in, maintaining stability through your core.
  • Shoulder Awareness: Roll your shoulder blades onto your back, elevating your breastbone and expanding your chest. Your gaze can be directed straight ahead or gently upward towards the ceiling.
  • Breath & Hold: Remain in this pose for 1 to 5 deep breaths, maintaining a sense of openness and strength.
  • Transition: To exit the pose, exhale slowly as you lower yourself back to the floor or transition into the Downward Facing Dog pose.

Upward Facing Dog Pose

Upward Facing Dog Beginner's Insights

Here is the ultimate guide for Beginners to Practicing this Energizing Yoga Asana:

  • As you rise, actively engage your palms to prevent your shoulders from creeping up towards your ears, ensuring you don't collapse into the pose.
  • Focus on moving your chest through your arms while encouraging your shoulder blades to glide towards your tailbone.
  • Keep your knees lifted off the ground, maintaining the integrity of the pose.
  • If you're new to this posture, consider starting with the Cobra pose and progressing to Upward Facing Dog when ready.
  • Beginners can also use a meditation mat and cushion to perform the pose easily.
  • When lifting your gaze, do so gently and only if it doesn't compromise the length of your neck.

Benefits Of Upward Dog Pose

Explore the benefits of regular meditation of the upward dog pose. An upward dog pose can have numerous advantages for the mind and body. Would you like to know more about these benefits? Read on!

  • It expands the chest and enhances lung capacity.
  • Stretches the front body, including the chest and the intercostal muscles between the ribs.
  • Strengthens the wrists, arms, shoulders, upper back, and legs.
  • Acts counterbalance to daily activities involving forward flexion, such as prolonged sitting or using electronic devices.

Upward Facing Dog Pose


Maintain engagement in your legs and lower belly to protect your lower back.
If you choose to look upwards during the pose, avoid tilting your head back excessively, especially if you have a history of neck injuries. Keep your gaze at eye level instead.

3 Pose Modification For Upward-Facing Dog

For those finding Upward-Facing Dog challenging due to beginner status, health concerns, or previous injuries, consider these simpler alternatives:

  • Cobra Pose: This is a gentler stretch. Lie face down, press palms under shoulders to lift the chest, and maintain a slight upward gaze.
  • Thigh Support: Use a folded blanket or meditation cushion under your thighs in Upward-Facing Dog to ease lower back pressure.
  • Blocks for Hands: Place yoga blocks under your hands for extra lift and less strain while entering the backbend.


Experiment with a variation by keeping your toes tucked.
Once in the pose, try gently swaying your upper body from side to side to explore different sensations.

Related Poses

To perform the upward-facing dog pose, you can start with this pose:


Unlock the vitality of the Upward Facing Dog pose as you embrace the revitalizing effects of this yoga asana. Whether you're a novice or a seasoned yogi, incorporating Urdhva Mukha Svanasana into your practice can offer a sense of rejuvenation and empowerment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I Do If I have Wrist Issues Or Discomfort While Performing Upward Dog?

If you have any wrist issues, you can modify the pose by coming onto your forearms instead of placing weight on your hands. This variation is known as Sphinx Pose and offers a gentler option for those with wrist discomfort.

How Long Should I Hold Upward Dog Pose During My Yoga Practice?

The duration of holding Upward Dog Pose can vary depending on your practice and comfort level. Typically, it's fit for a few breaths, but you can extend the duration as you become more experienced and comfortable with the pose.

Can Upward Dog Pose Be Part Of A Flow Or Yoga Sequence?

Upward Dog Pose is often incorporated into yoga flows and sequences, especially in vinyasa or power yoga classes. It's an essential Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) series component and can be seamlessly integrated into various yoga sequences.