Upward Facing Dog Pose - Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Upward facing dog yoga pose Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Step by step

  • Lie on your stomach, with your hands next to the ribs, fingers pointing forwards, elbows tucked into your sides. 
  • Press the tops of your feet into the floor and engage the thighs and knees, and keep the tailbone pointing towards the heels.
  • On an inhalation press into your hands and feet, straighten your arms and lift your chest and legs off the floor.
  • Engage your lower belly and knit your lower ribs.
  • Draw the shoulder blades onto your back and lift your breastbone.
  • You can look straight ahead or up towards the ceiling.
  • Stay for 1 to 5 breaths.
  • To come out, as you exhale, lower yourself down to the floor or lift yourself into Downward Facing Dog pose.

Beginners’ tips

  • Press up actively from the palms, drawing the shoulders away from the ears to keep yourself from hanging in the pose.
  • Draw the chest forward through the arms, moving the shoulder blades towards the tailbone.
  • Keep your legs active, ensuring that the knees stay off the ground.
  • Start with Cobra pose and move into Upward Facing Dog once you’re ready.
  • Look upwards only if you can do so while keeping length in your neck.


  • Opens the chest and lungs
  • Stretches the front of your body, chest, and intercostal muscles between the ribs.
  • Strengthens your wrists, arms, shoulders, upper back, and legs.
  • Helps to counteract daily forward flexion activities such as sitting, texting or driving.

Watch out for

  • Keep your legs and lower belly engaged to protect your lower back.
  • Avoid tilting the head back too much if you are looking up in the pose. Keep your gaze at eye level if you have any neck injuries.


  • Experiment with a variation of the pose by keeping your toes tucked.
  • Try gently swaying your upper body from side to side once you’re in the pose.