Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Sanskrit: ऊर्ध्वमुखश्वानासन IAST: Urdhva mukha śvānāsana) or Upward Facing Dog Pose is a back-bending asana in modern yoga as exercise. It is commonly part of the widely-performed Surya Namaskar (Salute to the Sun) sequence, though the similar Bhujangasana (cobra pose) may be used there instead.
Etymology and origins
The name of the pose is from the Sanskrit ऊर्ध्व Urdhva, "upwards"; मुख Mukha, "face"; and श्वान Shvana, "dog". The pose is one of those (along with Downward Dog) introduced by Krishnamacharya in the mid-20th century from Surya Namaskar, not then considered to be yoga, and later taught by his pupils Pattabhi Jois and B. K. S. Iyengar.
The pose is entered with an inhalation from a prone position (or from a pose such as Chaturanga Dandasana or Ashtanga Namaskara in a Surya Namaskar cycle), taking the feet a little apart. The legs are stretched out straight, the toes out (not tucked under), and the weight of the body is supported on the hands with outstretched arms so the hips are off the ground. The gaze is directed straight upwards, so the neck and back are arched.
Bhujangasana, Cobra Pose, and its variations such as Yin Yoga's Sphinx Pose, are somewhat similar reclining backbends which may be used if a less strenuous asana is required, for example in the Surya Namaskar cycle.
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