Share Pin Email
feature image
Live Fit

Your Body in Upward-Facing Dog

Yoga anatomy expert Leslie Kaminoff explains what happens in your body when you properly perform this backbending posture.

16 7833
Author Image
Yoga Anatomy Expert
SHARE:

Upward-facing dog pose is a backbending arm support in which it is important to create evenly distributed extension throughout your whole spine. To accomplish this, the thoracic region needs encouragement to bend backwards, while the more mobile lumbar and cervical regions need to be stabilized. This translates into active shortening (concentric) work in the extensors in your thoracic spine and active lengthening (eccentric) work for the flexors in your cervical and lumbar spine.

As in many poses where your arms are active, the latissimus dorsi are not so helpful, because they can fix the scapulae on the rib cage and inhibit extension in the thoracic spine. They also produce internal rotation of the upper arm (humerus) and downward rotation of the shoulder blades (scapulae), both of which oppose the actions of upward-facing dog.


Throughout your spine, the extensors are active, though mostly in the thoracic region. Gravity creates much of the extension in the lumbar spine all on its own, so your abdominals (and maybe your psoas minor) are actively lengthening (eccentrically) to resist too much arching in the lumbar spine (lordosis). In your cervical spine, gravity, acting on the weight of the head, creates extension, so the anterior neck muscles work eccentrically to keep the action balanced. In some variations of this pose, a chin lock is maintained, which makes the thoracic extension that much more powerful, and asks the back of the neck to lengthen as the chin is tucked down towards the top of the sternum.

As the counterpose to the more “exhaled” nature of downward-facing dog, this pose is clearly related to the expansive action of inhaling. Many who practice Ashtanga-based sequencing mostly hold this pose for only half a breath, as they move through it between stick pose and downward-facing dog. By holding it for several breaths, you can allow the action of the inhale to deepen the opening in the front of the ribcage, whereas the exhaling action can assist you in stabilizing the lumbar and cervical curves.

This article has been adapted from Leslie Kaminoff’s book Yoga Anatomy, an illustrated guide to the underlying structures and principles of the movements in yoga. Learn more at yogaanatomy.net

By

SHARE:

Comments (16)

Load More

Find us on Instagram

@LIVESONIMA
  • #mlk #mlkday #quotes #happiness #behappy
  • Who doesn't love a quiz? Take our personality test to better understand the desires, fears, and tendencies that affect your relationships and personal growth. See link in bio. #personalitytypes #enneagram #quiz #knowyourself #liveauthentically
  • Most people know the benefits of meditation include enhanced focus, concentration, and heightened self awareness. But there are two lesser-known ways that meditation can help you work smarter.

One is an improved relationship with time. When the mind is more present and focused, you have an enhanced understanding and comprehension of a given topic or task. When that becomes a regular part of your working style, it profoundly impacts your ability to learn and work at a high level.

Secondly, your self-esteem improves. Meditation improves your priorities deep down inside, in turn making you more productive. It gives you this feeling of “Yes, I’m a good human", and that lifts your self-esteem up. Confidence comes from the satisfaction in giving or doing something for others. The more you do for others, the better your relationships will be, professional and otherwise.

How does meditation help you work smarter? 
#meditation #meditate #mindfulness #work
  • Happy New Year! 
All of us at Sonima are wishing you the most wonderful year. 🎊 
Let’s make 2020 a year filled with great compassion, awareness, and health through our practices of yoga, meditation, fitness and conscious eating. 🙏🏽💖
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#newyear2020 #newyear2020🎉 #firstdayoftheyear #firstdayoftheyear2020 #healthandwellness #lifeisbeautiful #choosehappiness #attitudequotes #attitudeofgratitude #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #mindbodysoul #wednesdaywisdom #liveyourbestlife
  • It’s the last day of the year! ✨
Take some time to reflect and use this 10-minute guided meditation to help you generate a commitment for the year ahead. 
This meditation shows you how to live according to your deepest desires and create an intention, not from the mind’s force, judgment, or expectation, but rather from the depths of your own heart. ✨

Click on our bio link to listen and experience a deeper vision of your future! 🔮
.
.
.
.
.
.
#newyear2020 #newyearseve #newyearsresolution 
#newyeargoals #tuesdaymotivation #meditationchallenge #selflessservice #mindfulnessquotes 
#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #brainhealth #mindbodyconnection #introspection #meditatedaily #meditationinspiration #lastdayoftheyear
  • Taco lettuce wraps are the perfect way to lighten up taco night! 
This delicious recipe is vegan and “no-cook”, so it’s ready in minutes. 
These taco lettuce wraps are also loaded with fiber and antioxidants. They are great to help with detoxification and resetting your diet after the rich and indulgent holidays! 🌮 
Find all the ingredients with the full recipe in our Clean-Eating column, with best-selling cookbook author, culinary nutritionist, and wellness expert Amie Valpone @amievalpone - Simply click on our bio link! 🔗
.
.
.
.
.
.

#mondaymotivation 
#veganrecipes #vegantacos #lettucewraps #lettucetacos #amievalpone #cleaneatingrecipe #cleandiet #detoxdiet #eatingclean #thehealthyapple #resetyourbody #antiinflammatorydiet #flightinflammationwithfood #eatingcleanrecipes #vegetarianrecipes #veganfoodlovers #veganfood #vegetarianmeals #healthyrecipes #mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #balancediet #mindbodyconnection #mondayinspiration
Receive fresh content delivered to your inbox every week!