Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana – Meaning and Benefits

Upward-Facing Dog Pose — Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana — Strengthens the back muscles, especially the spinal erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, deltoids etc

  • “Urdhva” — meaning “upward”
  • “Mukha” — meaning “face”
  • “Shvana” — meaning “dog”
  • “Asana” — meaning “pose or stance”

Upward-Facing Dog is incorporated in the Sun Salutations A and B of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Series as taught by Sri Krishnamacharya and is often done 5 times in Sun Salutation A and 5 times in Sun Salutation B warm up vinyasa. It can be used as a strength-builder and also as a prep towards deeper backbends.

Benefits of Upward-Facing Dog

Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Shavanasana) does eccentric contraction  the chest and torsa areas, while strengthening the wrists, arms, and shoulders. By concentric contraction of the back musecles and opening the upper body and chest.  Urdhva Mukha Shavanasana improves posture and can be therapeutic for asthmatic patients as well as people who have sinusitis issues. Upward Dog creates suppleness in the back torso and abdomen, which stimulates the abdominal organs and improves digestion. It also firms the buttocks and thighs, helping to relieve sciatica. The backbend energizes and rejuvenates the body, providing relief from fatigue and mild depression.