Yoga
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Upward Facing Dog

Low Cobra imprints correct body alignment and builds strength in the muscles along your spine so you can safely enter deeper backbends. Once you have mastered Low Cobra, you may opt for Upward Facing Dog aka Urdvha Mukha Svanasana instead of Low Cobra at times in your Sun Salutations and Vinyasas.

How to get into the pose:

  • From Low Cobra, straighten your arms.
  • Make sure, that your wrists are right underneath your shoulders, with your palms and fingers spread wide and the creases of your wrists parallel to the short end of your mat.
  • Root down firmly through the inner edges of your hands as you draw the outer upper arms back.
  • Work the bottom tips of your shoulderblades up and into the chest as you soften the front ribs in.
  • Relax your shoulders away from your neck.
  • You may also bend your elbows slightly to pull your chest through the upper arms to open your heart space before you restraighten the arms.
  • Draw the pit of the abdomen up and in to support your lower back.
  • Extend your sternum away from your navel as you reach your tailbone to the space between your heels.
  • Unclench your buttocks.
  • Keep your legs hip distance apart and reach back through the toes.
  • Press the tops of your feet into the mat, with your shinbones and thighs off the floor and your legs active and strong.
  • Lift your gaze while keeping the back of the neck long.

 

Key actions while you are in the pose:

  • Press the shoulder blades up and into the chest and broaden through the collarbones as you draw the front ribs towards the back ribs.
  • Release the shoulder blades down the back and the upper trapezius muscle away from the neck.
  • Firm the side hips in and lift the pit of the abdomen.
  • Lengthen from the pubis to the navel to the sternum as you lengthen the buttocks towards the heels.
  • Lift your inner thighs towards the ceiling and firm your outer thighs.
  • Firm the inner and outer arches of your feet and reach back through the toes.
  • Press down through all ten toes and widen the back of your thighs.

 

Modifications:

  • Keep the gaze straight ahead, if your neck feels compressed.
  • If your lower back feels tender, assume Low Cobra until you have build sufficient strength in the muscles along your spine to safely come into a deeper backbend.
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