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Uttana ShishosanaSection divider
Extended Puppy Pose basics
- Stretches the spine and shoulders
Come onto all fours. See that your shoulders are above your wrists and your hips are above your knees. Walk your hands forward a few inches and curl your toes under.
More yoga poses for the spine.
As you exhale, move your buttocks halfway back toward your heels. Keep your arms active; don’t let your elbows touch the ground.
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Drop your forehead to the floor or to a blanket and let your neck relax. Keep a slight curve in your lower back. To feel a nice long stretch in your spine, press the hands down and stretch through the arms while pulling your hips back toward your heels.
Breathe into your back, feeling the spine lengthen in both directions. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, then release your buttocks down onto your heels.Section divider
You can hold this pose longer and protect your knees and lower back by placing a rolled-up blanket or bolster between your thighs and calves.Section divider
This pose will challenge students with tight shoulders. Have them also pay attention to the stretch they will feel across the front of the body—across from shoulder to shoulder, and along the length of the front body from neck to pubic bone.Section divider
Extended Puppy Pose with a block for your head
If your head does not reach the floor in the pose, place a block or combination of blocks and folded blankets in front of you. Rest your head on the props and extend your arms overhead.
Extended Puppy Pose with a block under your elbows
For a deeper shoulder opening, set a pair of blocks shoulder-width apart in front of you. When you bend into the pose, set your elbows on the blocks. Bend your arms so that your hands hands reach toward the ceiling in prayer position.Section divider
Extended Puppy Pose with a chair
Stand facing a chair that has been placed on a mat and/or against a wall so it won’t slip. Place a folded blanket on the seat of the chair. Step back a foot or two. Reach out toward the back of the chair as you fold forward. Allow your head to rest on the blanket and your hands to rest on the chair back.
Why we love this pose
The name alone is enough to make Uttana Shishosana a fun pose to practice! It offers a number of variations that enable us to get the most from this back- and shoulder-stretching pose. You can approach this pose by degrees—deepening into it as your upper body opens.Section divider
Preparatory and counter poses
- Adho Mukha Svanasana