Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Urdhva Mukha Svanasana Mean?

Urdhva mukha svanasana is a backbending yoga asana that requires strength in the arms, shoulders and wrists, as well as flexibility in the back. The name comes from the Sanskrit urdhva, meaning “up,” mukha, meaning “face,” svan, meaning “dog,” and asana, meaning “pose.”

In this asana, the body lies belly down with the arms pressing into the ground and lifting the body with an arching back. As well as a range of physical benefits, it is believed to energize the mind and body.

The common English name for urdhva mukha svanasana is upward-facing dog pose or, simply, upward dog or up dog.

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana


Yogapedia Explains Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Urdhva mukha svanasana is often practiced as part of a vinyasa. It is one of the most recognized yoga poses and is typically part of surya namaskara (sun salutation) series in many types of yoga. Urdhva mukha svanasana is similar to bhujangasana (cobra pose), the difference being 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.

Traditionally, urdhva mukha svanasana is believed to stimulate the anahata chakra, opening the body to compassion, love and gratitude. The energy from this chakra also creates a stronger connection with the world community.

As a back bend, this asana opens and expands the chest, creating a feeling of invigoration and increasing confidence, positive energy and inspiration.

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