Upward Facing Dog

urdhva mukha svanasana

Pronunciation: (OORD-vah MOO-kah shvon-AHS-anna)

Level: Intermediate


1. From Table pose, slowly drop the hips forward toward the floor.

2. Press palms down into the floor, drop the shoulders down and back, press the chest forward and reach the crown of the head up towards the ceiling.

3. Inhale and lift thighs and legs off of the floor by pressing the tops of the feet down and engaging mula bandha.

4. Breathe and hold for 1-3 breaths.

5. To release: bend the knees and lift the hips back up into table position

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Upward Facing Dog opens the chest and strengthens the whole body. Up dog aligns the spine and invigorates the kidneys and nervous system.

Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the back, hips, arms or shoulders, pregnancy and recent abdominal surgery.

Modifications + Variations

Modifications: Place yoga blocks under the palms.

Variations: Tuck the toes under to lift the legs higher off the floor.


Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Table, Plank, Child, Caterpillar.

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose: Downward Dog, Child, Plank, Locust, Half Bow.

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