One of my favorite postures lately has become upward facing dog. But every time I do it in a class setting, it’s as if the pose is considered the runt of the litter.
You acknowledge little up doggy because he’s there wagging his tail in the pen with the rest of the flashy pups, yelping at you and pleading for a pat on the head, but most of the time, it gets fed and tossed a toy more out of a sense of obligation than because you really want to nurture it and see it grow like the others.
As we move through sun salutations, we focus on moving slowly and methodically through chattaranga and then it’s as if we just throw in Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, UFD’s fancy show name, because we have to in order to transition into Adho Mukha Svanasana, the flashier DFD, where we’re going to hold the pose and breathe…
But, for someone like me who has a tight psoas, this posture can be yummy!
More and more, I’m also learning and practicing making Up Dog a more active posture.
Obviously, it can be a great opener for the front of the hips, and a little twist can make it feel even better, but there are ways to make this an even stronger and more beneficial posture that often get ignored.
For one, the more you push down on the mat with the toes and the tops of the feet, engaging the thighs, while letting the hips sink, the more it opens the front body and the hips.
By inwardly rotating the thighs and energetically pulling them towards each other and the center body, the more you can feel the sit bones widening allowing more room to tuck the tailbone and lengthen the spine. ahhhh….
Moving up the body, as you tuck the tailbone under and lengthen the spine, reaching the crown of the head up, the more space you create in the lower back.
Then there are the arms, shoulders, hands and heart.
With all that room you’ve created in the back, you can pull the shoulder blades down towards the back of the heart, reaching the heart forward, all the while grounding the hands and energetically pulling the hands towards each other on the mat.
Something that often gets thrown away can become such an incredibly strong posture when done with intention and focus.
With a litle grooming, Up Dog can go from the back of the line to Best in Show.