asana of the month – upward-facing dog

each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons.

b.k.s. iyengar, in his light on yoga, writes that urdhva mukha svanasana: “rejuvenates the spine and is specifically recommended for people suffering from a stiff back. the movement is good for persons with lumbago, sciatica, and those suffering from slipped or prolapsed discs of the spine. the pose strengthens the spine and cures backaches. due to chest expansion, the lungs gain elasticity. the blood circulates properly in the pelvic region and keeps it healthy.”

urdhva mukha svanasana (upward-facing dog pose):
urdhva = upward
mukha = face
svana = dog

benefits [cited in yogajounal.com]:
• strengthens the spine, arms,
• stretches chest and lungs, shoulders and abdomen
• stimulates abdominal organs
• helps relieve mild depression, fatigue, and sciatica
• improves posture
• therapeutic for asthma

cautions/contraindications:
• back injury
• carpal tunnel syndrome
• headache
• pregnancy

preparatory poses:
• bhujangasana (cobra)
• setu bandha sarvangasana (bridge pose)

song that most comes to mind while in the posture:
kickin’ my dog around” (traditional american)

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