Upward Facing Dog Pose

The Upward Facing Dog is another Hatha Yoga favorite.

Still on the matter of studying and taking inspiration from the natural actions of canines as introduced in the previous article, we’ll now continue with a specific pose that is once more derived from a position that dogs take – the Upward Facing Dog Pose.

In Hatha Yoga, we have the Upward Facing Dog Pose, or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit (urdhva = upward, mukha = face, svana = dog), that is ideal for developing strength in the wrists.

This pose is one of those that form part of the time-honored Sun Salutation sequence, postures that are generally done in the morning for receiving energy, recapturing vitality, and preparing the body to manage vigor properly as the day goes on.

Qualities of the Upward Facing Dog Pose

The Upward Facing Dog in Hatha Yoga is reflective of the way canines look forward and upward to the sky, seemingly in anticipation of a good, if not better, day ahead. They “salute” the sun, basking in its rays, eager to start fresh.

Optimism and resiliency are key personality traits personified by this pose. Optimism, because the upward facing posture illustrates an expectation or readiness to receive the blessings that the day brings, and resiliency, because the pose connotes that no matter what challenges you may have faced earlier, you are still in control and hopeful about a good outcome.

Benefits of the Upward Facing Dog Pose

  • Mental – the Upward Facing Dog Pose promotes clarity of thinking that comes with a stable sense of self, which in turn, happens when it is practiced.
  • Physical – highly recommended for the alleviation of sciatica, a symptom that features shooting pain brought about by compression or pressure brought upon the sciatic nerve. When left unattended, such a condition can make standing and/or sitting close to impossible because of the pain. The Upward Facing Dog Pose provides relief for mild depression, reinforces the wrists, arms, and the spine. It can also be remedial for cases of asthma.
  • Spiritual – when your optimism soars, the better you are equipped to handle the challenges of life, which accounts for a resilient outlook.

Video Demonstration of the Cobra Upward Facing Dog Pose:

The Upward Facing Dog is not recommended when you are pregnant, have a pre-existing injury of the back, or have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.

While we have tried to sprinkle some of the Hatha Yoga exercise videos throughout a few of these articles, it would work best for you to watch and learn as you read along with this guide. When finished, you can subscribe to the MyFitnessNut.com Newsletter to get the full set of all 70 yoga video demonstrations pick and choose which yoga exercises you want to learn first. Next, we’ll take a look at “Flow Yoga” and how it can enshrine your consciousness toward enlightenment.

Cat Cow Pose

This is where you'll learn to do the Cat-Cow Pose.

One of the biggest challenges faced by adults when getting older is the gradual lessening of the ability to be flexible. In Hatha Yoga, we have the Cat-Cow Pose, or Chakravakasana in Sanskrit, to help you deal with such stressful conditions by raising your levels of suppleness or flexibility.

Qualities of the Cat-Cow Pose

Notice the way your body tenses when you face a difficult or stressful situation. Your breathing becomes more rapid and shallow. Your muscles bunch up, forming hard painful knots. Your body gears up either to flee a stressful situation or go down fighting in self-defense. This is the “fight or flight response.”

Imagine that scenario having been repeated over and over in your life – you became upset and tense in school as you interacted with all kinds of people. Some were insufferable bullies, some were just annoying day in and day out.

You have also become upset and tense several times at work, or when out of work. At home, you also probably encountered difficulties that sent your levels of cortisol, your stress hormone, winging high and this resulted in you being burnt-out.

That’s just the tip of a rather huge iceberg, because when the body and mind are frequently subjected to stress, something is eventually going to give. That something is usually your inner self. Depression and a sense of futility may take hold of you.

The Cat-Cow Pose in Hatha Yoga promotes flexibility as a means of properly dealing with stressful conditions, whether externally or internally generated.

Benefits of the Cat-Cow Pose

  • Mental – conditions the mind to view stressful situations not necessarily as high-danger threats always, but to see stress as being manageable, with the outcome being dependent on how you deal with it (calmly);
  • Physical – gentle stimulation of abdominal organs, spurs adrenal glands and kidneys to regulate hormone production and encourage internal body cleansing, promotes proper spinal alignment to restore flexibility, encourages deeper and slower breathing for better stress management;
  • Spiritual – when the mind stops regarding each instance of stress as being overwhelming, internal calmness and heightened energy ensue. The Cat-Cow pose is an effective weapon to stave off depression.

Video Demonstration of the Cat-Cow Pose:

Safety Alert

The Cat-Cow Pose is not recommended for pregnant women and those with existing neck injuries.

Next, moving on, we’ll discover a very popular pose among yoga enthusiasts named the “Downward Dog”. This pose is excellent for alertness and recovery and is also included, along side the Cat-Cow pose in the video library you get access to when subscribing to the MyFitnessNut.com Newsletter found at the top of the home page.