Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog (aka “Up Dog”) is such a great pose to open the chest, to strengthen the vertebral column, and to strengthen the arms and wrists.  It’s a foundational pose in any Vinyasa sequence and it feels sooo good.  The key thing to remember in this pose is to keep the shoulders pressed down away from the ears–meaning, to press through the hands, keeping an elongated spine, and not bunching your shoulders up by your ears.  Some other key elements to remember in this pose are to align your shoulders over your wrists and to lift up your thighs.  If this pose is too much for your back, you can always use props, such as blocks, to place your hands on.  Do not practice this pose if you have any problems with your wrists, if you are pregnant or if you suffer from any other physical condition that would be worsened in this pose.  If you have wrist issues, some teachers suggest coming down to your forearms and practicing Sphinx pose, which is a great chest opening posture, as well.