URDHVA MUKHA SVANASANA (UMS) is also known as Upward Facing Dog pose
Building on our last pose, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana tones the whole spine, expands the chest and lungs while massaging abdominal and pelvic organs.
Stage 1 Coming into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Lie on the belly with the forehead on the floor, feet hip width, toes curled under and hands close to the waist, with elbows bent. Tighten knees until your thighs lift off the floor.
Raise head to look forwards then lengthen neck, chest and belly towards the chin.
Gradually straighten the arms to lift the trunk.
Maintain the pose by resting only on the palms and curled under toes.
Keep firm hip muscles and draw chest forward keeping a freedom around the neck and opening in the shoulders.
Maintain pose and breath normally.
Exhale to return to original position.
Rest with head to the side, hands by the thighs and palms facing upwards.
Top Tip: While learning this pose it can be helpful to have a bolster for thighs and bricks for the hands.
Stage 2 Coming into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana from Adho Mukha Svanasana
With motion from Adho Mukha Svanasana, via Chaturanga Dandasana into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, ‘flow’ to further strengthen the body.
Bring nose close to the floor, skim it close to the mat until you arrive in chaturanga then lift into UMS
Learn to move smoothly with the breath.
Repeat x10 (or more!)
Stage 3 Full Pose Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Revisit stage 1 to feel the difference and repeat x 3.
If all is going well then additionally look up.
To progress UMS do as in stage 1) but on the tops of the feet with the toes reaching back, then try with feet together.
This pose is great for strengthening the joints and muscles of the upper and lower extremities and burning calories (especially at stage 2), a fire pose!
Rather like planet earth this pose requires fire from deep inside. This pose prepares us for back bends.
Any questions you may have in practising this please ask to your teacher.