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Upward Facing Dog

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Upward Facing Dog is a strengthening backbend that is commonly part of the Sun Salutations sequence.

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Step By Step

  1. Lie on your stomach with your legs straight and your feet hip- width distance apart. Point your toes straight back behind you, and press each toe into the floor.
  2. Place your hands beside your chest with your palms facing down. Spread your fingers wide and press your finger pads down.
  3. On an inhale breath, press your hands and fingers into the floor as you straighten your arms and lift your chest and torso upwards.
  4. Engage your thighs and press down through your hands and feet as you lift your thighs from the floor. Keep your gluteal muscles slightly engaged, but not contracted.
  5. Look forward or upward while lifting your chin just slightly away from your chest. Be mindful not to compress your neck (cervical spine) by tilting your head back too far.
  6. Hold here for several breaths. Release by lowering to the floor or pressing back into Downward Facing Dog.
Pose Name


  • Lengthens spinal muscles and improves posture
  • Strengthens forearm and wrist muscles
  • Stretches abdomen, chest, and shoulder muscles
  • Strengthens back muscles and tones gluteal muscles
  • Opens lungs and breathing muscles to aid in deeper breathing


  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or other wrist injury
  • Back injury
  • Pregnancy (check with your doctor)


  • Place a block in between your thighs and squeeze and hold it there as you press up into this posture. This will contract your inner thigh muscles and relieve pressure in your lower back
  • You can also modify by taking Cobra pose if needed


This posture stimulates the Heart Chakra (Anahata), and balances energy around trust, unconditional love, and forgiveness.