Slow down your practice. One pose at a time.
The pose of the week is
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana /upward facing dog
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana might bring visions of a vinyasa flow, a strenuous practice that's a continuous cycle of connecting poses together. But before you start thinking that's not your speed. Wait! Because as a standalone pose, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana offers stiff bodies and beginner yogis a lot to learn and explore.
Using a bolster under the hands in this pose allows those with stiff backs and shoulders to achieve a more open and a gentler version with all the same benefits of strengthening the arms, the legs, and the abdomen.
Taking upward facing down out of a flow sequence and doing as a single pose with a bolster, is also good for seasoned yoga practitioners to revisit the foundations of the pose.
Placing a bolster under the hips (as shown in the top photos) offers a second version that offers back bending enthusiasts more space to gain a deeper spinal stretch, greater access to opening the chest and more awareness of using the legs. Toes down and pressing into the floor can give more leverage to roll the shoulders open.
Either way you want to play with this pose, you can't go wrong with slowing down your yoga practice, and using a bolster to do one pose at a time.
In both versions:
- Start on all fours to come into the pose.
- Keep the hands lined up under the shoulders.
- Lift the hips and thighs, straighten the legs, extend from the root of the upper leg to the inner heal.
- Press into the hands, take the inner arms forward and the outer arms back. Take the dorsal spine in. Notice how you can achieve more space in your spine and more openness in your chest.
And hey, don't forget have fun! It's what finding our inner spaces is all about.