It’s Day 20, and we are doing Upward Facing Dog or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana.
If you’ve been following these Instagram Challenge posts this month, you might notice a common thread. There’s a lot of “checking your ego at the door” with yoga. Upward Facing Dog is no different.
If this pose is too intense or you have low back issues, stick with Cobra pose. In the past, I, like many students, would do a hybrid of Upward Facing Dog and Cobra with my knees on the ground. It’s as if I thought being in Cobra was a weakness, but I didn’t want to put in all the work involved with holding an Upward Facing Dog. I’m all for modifications, but this is one place where it behooves you to commit to doing one pose or the other.
The Updog/Cobra blend can be rough on your low back. In Cobra, your hips stay on the ground, and you extend through the spine. By coming all the way up into Upward Facing Dog with the tops of your feet and hands on the ground, your thighs, hip, and core muscles are engaged to support your back. If you stay on your knees, you are hammocking your spine between your shoulders and tailbone which can feel uncomfortable, if not painful, over time.
If you are in that all too familiar place of wanting to do Upward Dog, but still find it a bit too intense, you can place a folded blanket under your thighs to give them some height while you practice coming up to the tops of your feet.
Just say no to Upward Dog Cobras (They just sound horrifying), and commit to going ALL THE WAY. No shame. No judgement. No ego.