Aside from downward dog, upward facing dog is one of the most widely known and recognized yoga poses due to its numerous benefits and therapeutic uses.
Developed in India thousands of years ago, yoga has become an increasingly popular form of exercise technique. Yoga is a healing system that helps create strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body. Many osteopathic physicians focus a lot of their efforts on preventive medicine and practices, and in the body’s ability to heal itself, and yoga is a great tool for staying healthy because it is based on similar principles.
Benefits of Yoga
While there are many different types of yoga, most sessions are typically comprised of breathing exercises, meditation, and assuming postures that are sometimes called asana or poses, that stretch and flex various muscle groups.
The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can actually do many things like lessen chronic pain, reduce lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.
Other Physical Benefits:
- Increased flexibility
- Increased muscle strength and tone
- Improved respiration, energy and vitality
- The maintenance of a balanced metabolism
- Weight reduction
- Cardio and circulatory health
- Improved athletic performance
- Protection from injury
Aside from the array of physical benefits, one of the best benefits of yoga is how it helps a person manage stress, which is known to have devastating effects on the body and mind. Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse, and an inability to concentrate. But yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.
Benefits Of Upward Facing Dog
Upward-facing dog is a popular pose using back-bending arm support to create evenly distributed extension throughout your whole spine. Poses like this are critical for a healthy back, especially with so many of our daily stances and chores that induce the forward fold of the torso. When we are forward all day from sitting at our desks or driving for hours on end, we over-stretch our back muscles and weaken our abdominals. Back-bending poses like this counteract this problem as it automatically puts our abdominal organs in a better functioning position. It’s also a great pose to tone our arms and legs and open our hearts.
This Pose is Beneficial for Many Issues:
- Sports of agility and speed often call for a supple and flexible spine. A back that can open in all directions is more efficient, whether it’s plays on the football field, acrobatic plays in soccer or strong swings on the tennis court.
- It stretches the quadriceps (muscles on the front of the thigh) and the hip flexors (muscles on the front of the hip). Balance between the front and back leg will keep the leg in harmony and lessen the risk of a pulled hamstring or quad.
- Keeps the wrists strong and flexible, perfect for strong stick play in hockey or a finessed shot in basketball.
- This pose has the ability to open the rib cage and increase the breathe capacity is advantageous to athletes who engage in aerobic sports of endurance. (Not to mention help athletes who suffer from exercise-induced asthma.)
Other Benefits of Consistent Practice:
- Strengthen the spine, arms and wrists
- Stimulate the organs of the abdomen
- Improve posture, by stretching anterior spine and strengthening posterior spine
- Stretch chest and lungs, shoulders and abdomen
- Help to relieve depression, fatigue and pain of sciatica
- Increase lung capacity to relieve the symptoms of asthma
Although you should always consult your physician and research a properly-trained teacher before starting a yoga practice, there are a few instances where you should avoid this pose entirely:
- Have a history of and/or are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome
- Are in the midst of a late stage pregnancy
- Have a serious back injury or disk problems
How To Properly Perform Upward-Facing Dog
Upward-Facing Dog Step-by-Step
- Start in prone position, slowly drop the hips forward toward the floor.
- Press palms down into the floor, drop the shoulders down and back,
press the chest forward, and reach the crown of the head up towards the ceiling.
- Inhale and lift thighs and legs off of the floor by pressing the tops of the feet down.
- Breathe and hold for 1-3 breaths.
- To release bend the knees and lift the hips back up into Table Pose.
Upward Dog vs. Cobra Pose
Although these moves are alike, there are differences, so to clear up any confusion, Cobra pose also starts in the prone position with feet top down, but with your hands under your shoulders and slightly in front of your body. Keep your elbows close to your body and lift your chest away from the floor. Your legs, feet and pubis press into the floor to power your lift as your arms extend away from the floor.
In Upward-Facing Dog pose, one the other hand, your wrists and arms are absorbing most of the force. Keep your shoulders away from your ears by actively pulling them down toward the tailbone. You get a deeper stretch,by lifting your legs off the floor.