Upward-Facing Dog Pose

Urdhva mukha svanasana

Upward-Facing Dog Pose

What is Upward-Facing Dog Pose?

Upward facing dog pose, or urdhva mukha svanasana in Sanskrit, is most commonly practiced as a transition pose in surya namaskar A and B. It's similar to cobra pose, but here the thighs and pelvis lift completely from the floor so that the bodyweight is supported on the hands and tops of the feet only. The pose rejuvenates and strengthens the spine.


  • This pose is most commonly entered from plank. Begin in plank with the fingers spread wide.
  • Exhale and bend the elbows, lowering the body so that the upper arms are in line with the torso.
  • Inhale and pull the head and torso forward and up, straightening the arms (maintain a slight bend in the elbows). Roll onto the tops of the feet.
  • Breathe while holding the pose.
  • If practicing sun salutations, exhale and push back to downward facing dog.


  • Keep a slight bend in the elbows to avoid strain and over-stretching.

Benefits of Upward-Facing Dog Pose

  • Improves posture
  • Strengthens arms, shoulders, wrists and spine
  • Brings flexibility in the chest, arms and thighs
  • Relieves back stiffness
  • Strengthens and rejuvenates the spine
  • Improves lung capacity
  • Improves circulation to the pelvic region

Upward-Facing Dog Pose Details

Sanskrit Name
Urdhva mukha svanasana
oord-vah moo-kah SHVAH-NAH-sah-nah
Pose Level
Bhrumadhye (Third Eye)
Pose Type
Backbends, Chest Openers, Strength
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