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How to Do Up Dog Pose

If you have lower back or wrist issues, it might be difficult for you to learn how to do yoga's up dog pose. But, with a few simple modifications, you can adjust the pose to be more comfortable for you while still stretching your legs, arms, core, and back.

If you have no issues, you can enter the classic up dog pose in yoga.

  1. Start on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
  2. Breathe fully. Gently roll your shoulders back and sway your hips from side to side to warm and loosen your body.
  3. Move your hands forward on the mat.
  4. Inhale to fill your rib cage and then exhale as you slowly lower your hips down to the mat.
  5. Roll your shoulders back. As you inhale, feel your arm muscles extending all the way from the tips of your fingers, up your arms, and into your chest.
  6. As you exhale, spread your toes wide and press the tops of your toes into the floor. Feel your leg muscles extend all the way from the tips of your toes into your middle back, until you feel the two lines of muscular energy connecting within your body.

If the pose puts too much strain on your wrists, sink down to your forearms and come briefly to sphinx pose.

  1. Fold the first few inches of your mat back and place your hands on the fold to elevate your palms.
  2. Inhale and return to up dog pose. Reach your heart forward and roll your shoulders and head back.
  3. To exit the pose, return to all fours and then to kneeling.

If the pose puts too much strain on your lower back, you can use a bolster (a pillow or rolled blanket will work, too) for extra support.

  1. Rest your iliac crest (hip bones) on the bolster as you lay forward.
  2. Situate yourself so that your legs extend straight back and your hands reach down in front of you.
  3. Keep your hands wide as you extend your arms and reach your heart forward.
  4. Reach back through your toes.
  5. Breathe fully and soften your spine.
  6. To exit the pose, return to all fours and then to kneeling.

When you alter the up dog yoga pose to work with your body, you can receive all its benefits without the worry of putting too much strain on problem areas.


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