Uttana shishosana gets its name from its close resemblance to a stretching puppy or dog.
The asana provides a beneficial stretch to the spine and shoulders, and offers a release to the neck. It is thought to be an excellent respite for chronic stress or tension in the shoulders and upper spine. It is also believed by some to offer relief from insomnia.
For those engaged in a spiritual yoga practice, uttana shishosana is said to activate both the svadisthana (spleen or sacral) and anahata (heart) chakras due to the position of the spine and heart in this asana. These chakras govern traits such as self-confidence, openness and self-love. Resting in uttana shishosana can help the practitioner feel more accepting of themselves and others.
Those with a knee injury should be cautious when practicing this asana.