So every week I will post a “Yoga pose of the week”, one that has some relevance in my life, or those in the context around me.
I chose Urdha Mukha Svanasana this week, or as many know it as upward-facing dog because it is my favorite pose in the surya namaskar sequence (or the sun salutation).
As a Massachusetts native, and living there now, the weather for this past month has been HORRENDOUS. It is June 22nd, freezing, windy, with torrential downpours. This may leave our joints achy, Vitamin D deficient, lethargic and screaming at the sky and ourselves asking, in our bitterly Bostonian tone, why the heck we decided to live in New England in the first place.
While this is not a cure for the weather, it is a cure for the bad-weather blues, and surya namaskar is a salute to the sun. There are many variations on the whole sequence which I’ll get to in a later post, or you can research, but upward-facing dog is one of those “Ah HA!” moments in my morning practice where I finally wake up!
As my arms flex I push the floor away feeling empowered, strong, lengthening my awkwardly long legs, opening my chest to the sky…my back bends and I feel …well basically it makes me feel AWESOME.
This simple little pose is the little engine that could! It stimulates your organs, gets the digestive system going, relieves depression, fatigue and pain of sciatica. It increases your lung capacity, strengthens your quads, abs, back, triceps, biceps, and stretches out your hip-flexers…which feels oh so good.
If you are just starting yoga and want to try this pose it isn’t necessary to bring your thighs off the floor, that will come with more strength in the arms and flexibility of the spine, just take it easy and enjoy the opening of your heart chakra to the, seemingly invisible as of late, sun.
My favorite part of this pose is that my dog, Magic, an 11-year old grumpy little black poodle, LOVES doing it with me, and he really does it! I’ve been trying to get a picture of him doing it, but he’s a quick little one and is a little camera shy….one day I’ll sneak attack him…
For more information on how to do upward-facing dog check out… yoga journal or purchase B.K.S. Iyengar’s “Light on Yoga” at Amazon.com…it really is the “bible” of modern yoga, my go-to for any asana info, and a must for any yogi’s library!