Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)


A beautiful benefit of practicing this posture is that it opens up the entire front body, especially the shoulders. It generally improves the postures among those who have a tendency to slouch, undoing the effects of gravity on our bodies. This posture also strengthens our glutes, which in turn will create a much more efficient engagement of our lower extremities when walking.

Common Mistakes

This posture is a backbend, which means visualising a smooth curve from head to toe could come in handy. Look out for when the gradient of this curve becomes too drastic, however (common areas for this being the back of the neck and the lower back). The former can be prevented when we only lift our gaze instead of our whole head, and the latter, the drawing of our pubic bone down towards the ground.


Explore the positioning of your hands, for instance, slightly turning in/out your hands, coming onto your fingertips, establishing a wider stance with the hands. Navigating through these variations could help you find the exact point of where in the upper back you’d like to address — your sweet spot.


Focusing on an upward gaze could serve as an energetic uplift,  a metaphoric invitation for hope and optimism. Practicing with the intention of opening, starting with our oral cavity, our throats, eventually our bodies and minds, can encourage us to establish a connection to others and our surroundings.


David Kam (davidkamkiawei.com)

Photo: @jake_paul_white

Upward-Facing Dog David Kam

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.