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Asana Kitchen: Upward Facing Dog Indepth Look
This video presents two excellent preparatory positions for Upward Facing Dog Posture that will revolutionize your thinking about how to express this important transition position.
The first preparatory exercise helps you identify and stabilize your foundation consisting of the hips, legs, and feet. Establishing a strong connection between the earth and these parts of your body allows you to experience the lifting up of the spine that could be said to be the signature of the posture. Lifting the spine enables you to feel that your spine gets sucked into the interior of the body from the back to the front, creating a circular coil, a maximum arch, the full expression of a back bend.
The next preparatory position establishes the close relationship between Upward Facing Dog Posture and Cobra Posture (Bhujangasana). Thinking of this relationship will help you to keep your body down close to the earth as you come into your Upward Dog. When you activate the hips and legs they tend to lift up away from the ground, but you want to activate them AND keep them low to the ground. The image I use to do this is of a snake who is a creature of the earth and who is thus reluctant to come up away from the earth, and who will only do so when he feels threatened by danger. The gesture that is Upward Dog can be likened to a Cobra who rears up away from the earth and becomes ready to strike when sufficiently provoked. That the tail end of the snake remains connected with the ground is what enables him to create the dynamic move that lifts up his upper body and head away from the earth. This image can help you to create an satisfying expansion of your chest in Upward Facing Dog, and also help you to achieve the maximum coiling arch of your spine.
Lastly, along with Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Posture) and Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Posture) Upward Facing Dog Posture is part of the trio that I call the ‘Big Three’ positions. You move through the Big Three many times during practice, and thus you want to have a good strategy for executing each position dynamically and with clarity and economy. Enjoy!