February Asana of the Month: Upward-Facing Dog

updogEach 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 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



  • 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:

The Oldtime Stringband’s cover of “They Gotta Quit Kickin’ My Dawg Aroun’ (aka The Missouri Dawg Song)”

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