Upward-Facing Dog Pose

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Upward-Facing Dog Pose Mean?

Upward-facing dog pose is a back-bending yoga posture that strengthens the arms, shoulders and wrists, as well as increases flexibility in the back and neck. In this asana, the body lies belly down with the arms pressing into the ground and lifting the body with an arch in the back. This is an important pose in yoga for its ability to align the spine and stimulate the nervous system.

Upward-facing dog pose is also referred to by its Sanskrit name, urdhva mukha svanasana.

Upward-Facing Dog Pose


Yogapedia Explains Upward-Facing Dog Pose

Upward-facing dog pose is often part of a vinyasa. It is one of the most recognized yoga poses and is typically part of the sun salutation series in many types of yoga. It is similar to cobra pose, except that in the latter pose, the lower body remains pressed into the ground, while in the former, only the tops of the feet touch the floor.

As a back bend, upward-facing dog pose helps improve posture and counteract the effects of the modern lifestyle, particularly sitting at a computer with slouched shoulders.

Some of the benefits of upward-facing dog pose include:

  • Improved posture.
  • Stronger arms, shoulders, wrists and spine.
  • More flexibility in the chest, arms and thighs.
  • More flexibility and strength in the back.
  • Firmer buttocks.
  • Stimulation of the abdominal organs and expansion of the lungs.

It is also believed to benefit people suffering from asthma, sciatica, mild depression and fatigue. Despite its benefits, downward-facing dog pose should be avoided by anyone who suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches or back problems.

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