An Easy Guide to Upward Facing Dog, or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Upward Facing Dog, or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana is a great yoga pose for beginners as it stretches the chest, shoulders and abdomen, and strengthens the spines, arms and wrists –helping to relieve feelings of stiffness, and de-stress at the end of the day. This yoga pose is also therapeutic for Asthma, as it stretches the lungs and opens the chest.

Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog really opens up the chest and throat - excellent for your Vishuddhi Chakra. 

Take a deep breath and speak your truth!

Watch a clip for this yoga pose 

How to do Upward Facing Dog, or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, in easy steps

Step 1:

Lie on the floor, face downwards. Place the feet one foot apart and point the toes straight behind.

Step 2:

Place the palms on the floor next to the waist, fingers pointing forwards.

Step 3:

Inhaling, raise the head and upper body so that the arms are stretched but don’t lock the elbows.

Step 4:

The legs should be straight and the knees off the floor, the weight resting on the hands and toes only.

Step 5:

Push up out of the hands and keep the shoulders drawing back. Open across the chest and throat. Breathe.

Step 6:

Stay for 5 to 10 breaths, opening with every breath.

Step 7:

To release, bend the elbows and rest on your front.

Upward Facing Dog

Yoga pose category:  Weight on hands

Level: 1

Remember to pull the shoulders backwards, pushing your hands against the floor. If you’re having trouble perfecting this beginners’ pose, try practicing it in front the mirror to check your body is aligned as it should be. Alternatively, try using blocks underneath your hands to help you, by pushing against them to make sure your shoulders are pushed back, where they should be.

Sanskrit words meaning: 

Urdhva - upwards

Mukha - face

Svana - dog

Yoga pose health benefits: 

Like all yoga poses, Upward Facing Dog has many health benefits. Use it to help with the following health conditions:




Breathing issues


Yoga pose contraindications: 

Don’t practice Upward Facing Dog if you have any of the following health conditions:

Back injury

Wrist injury


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Lucy Edge 

is a yoga advocate and writer with three yoga books to her name, including the beloved travel memoir Yoga School Dropout. She writes regularly for the national press, has authored over 150 guides to types of yoga and yoga poses, discovered nearly 250 proven health benefits of yoga through her painstaking classification of 300 clinical studies, and collected more than 500 personal testimonials to the real life benefits of yoga. She is also the creator of our yoga shop – YogaClicks.Store – handpicking yoga brands that are beautifully made by yogis committed to environmental and social sustainability.