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The Difference Between Upward-Facing Dog and Cobra Pose

Yoga | Yoga Poses

Have you ever wondered about the difference between Upward-Facing Dog pose (picture left) and Cobra pose (picture right)?

To get into the Upward-Facing Dog pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), start in the prone position with the tops of your feet on the floor and your hands palm down at the sides of your waist. On an inhale, push away from the floor with your hands so that you maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your wrists.

Difference To Cobra Pose

Cobra pose (Bhujangasana) also starts in the prone position with feet top down, but with your hands under your shoulders and slightly in front of your body. Keep your elbows close to your body and lift your chest away from the floor. Your legs, feet and pubis press into the floor to power your lift as your arms extend away from the floor.

In Upward-Facing Dog pose, on the other hand, your wrists and arms are absorbing most of the force. Keep your shoulders away from your ears by actively pulling them down toward the tailbone. To get a deeper stretch, lift your legs off the floor.

Upward-Facing Dog Step-by-Step

  1. From Table pose, slowly drop the hips forward toward the floor.
  2. Press palms down into the floor, drop the shoulders down and back, press the chest forward, and reach the crown of the head up towards the ceiling.
  3. Inhale and lift thighs and legs off of the floor by pressing the tops of the feet down and engaging Mula Bandha.
  4. Breathe and hold for 1-3 breaths.
  5. To release: bend the knees and lift the hips back up into Table Pose.

To visualize Upward-Facing Dog, let your thoughts and energy lift up as you reach upward with your crown.  Keep the most positive and beneficial outcomes in mind for any situations in your life.

Tips For Upward-Facing Dog

Upward Facing Dog opens the chest and strengthens the whole body. It also aligns the spine and stimulates the kidneys and the central nervous system. For assistance you can place yoga blocks under the palms. To get a variation, tuck the toes under to lift the legs higher off the floor. You can build a sequence using one or more of the following postures: Downward Dog, Child, Plank, Locust, and Half Bow.

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