Challenge Pose: Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Experience a surge of energy as you move step by step into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, or Upward-Facing Dog.
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PREVIOUS STEP IN YOGAPEDIA 3 Ways to Prep for Urdhva Mukha Svanasana 

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana 
Urdhva = Upward · Mudha = Face · Vana = Dog · Asana = Pose
Upward-Facing Dog Pose

Energizes the front line of your body; lifts your spirits; strengthens your hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, upper back, abdominals, hip flexors, and quadriceps. 

See also Challenge Pose: Hanumanasana

Stay Safe

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana can strain your lower back due to tightness or lack of support from the front of your body. If you feel any strain in your back, modify the pose with props—or by bending your knees to decrease the backbend. Another helpful modification is to rest with your legs down and your forearms on a small bolster so the backbend is gentler. This way, you can still experience the actions of your legs, lower abdomen, upper back, and shoulders, but with less effort and range of motion.

See also Poses for Your Pelvis

About Our Pro
Alison West is the director of Yoga Union and the Yoga Union Backcare & Scoliosis Center in New York City where she leads yoga teacher trainings, a Backcare and Scoliosis Certification Program, and a Slings and Ropes Certification Program. She also holds a PhD in art history from New York University. Transitioning from sculpture to the human form has led her to 35 years of practice and teaching. Learn more at