Upward Facing Dog Pose

A Favorite Back-Bending Movement

Besides the downward dog, upward facing dog is one of the more recognized yoga poses. It is a basic back bending movement that stretches the chest, spine and core muscles. 

This pose is usually performed as a part of the Sun Salutation to start the stretching and warming up of the body at the beginning of class.

With so many of us hunched over a desk or driving a vehicle for hours every day, back bending poses can be vital for us to increase mobility, improve posture, and also help to relieve some types of neck and back pain. 

Upward Facing Dog

Pose Instructions:

  • Start out by lying face down on the floor with your arms bent so that your palms are flat on the ground beside your chest. Have your elbows pressing on your sides.

  • Press down on your hands, squeeze your shoulder blades together and slowly straighten your elbows.

  • As the elbows straighten, your hips and upper thighs should raise up off the floor. You should feel the weight distributed between your hands and toes.

  • Hold this pose for 20-40 seconds and return to your starting position.

upward facing dog poseTaylor Demonstrating the Upward Facing Dog


  • If you feel any neck pain, make sure to keep your head level and focus your vision on an object straight ahead of you.

  • Don't try this posture if you have any wrist problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, or if you suffer from any back issues. Be careful not to hyper extend your elbows.

  • Back bending poses like the upward dog are perfect yoga movements to improve breathing and concentration skills.

Key Benefits

  • This is a terrific pose for isolating the back muscles. By strengthening the lower back, this pose can help with posture issues and the consistent lower back pain that many of have to deal with. 

  • Stretches your hip flexors and other muscles in your core. whether it's by sitting at a desk all day or constant driving, we constantly hunch over and weaken our back and core muscles. Many yoga poses like the upward dog have a positive effect on strengthening and toning the core. 

  • The upward dog will also stimulate the organs of the abdomen to help with your digestive system.

  • Helps to relieve fatigue and pain from the sciatic nerve.

  • By opening the front of body chest area, you expand your lung capacity to increase the amount of oxygen your lungs can hold. It also slows your breathing and releases stress. Research shows that slower controlled breathing reduces stress levels and improves concentration.

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