Upward-Facing Dog is one of four moves in a traditional vinyasa, which is called for countless times in any given flow-based yoga class, so having proper form is incredibly important.
And yet I see so many people doing it wrong. For one thing, only the tops of your feet and your hands should be touching the ground — not your thighs or your knees. Most people shrug their shoulders all the way up to their ears and crank their neck back in this pose. I can't imagine how that would feel good!
Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) is the back-bending and heart-opening move in the vinyasa, so you should feel space in your back and openness in your chest and heart when creating this shape.
To do it better:
Lie facedown on the ground with tops of feet on the ground.
Place hands on either side of chest, bending elbows and allowing them to brush the sides of the ribcage.
Pressing into palms, pull chest forward through shoulders and press into feet to lift thighs and knees off the ground so only hands and the tops of the feet are on the ground as you lengthen your arms.
Keep as much space as you can in between your ears and your shoulders. Allow your neck to be an extension of the spine.
Don't crank your neck back; look straight ahead.
Heidi Kristoffer is the creator of CrossFlowX™ and a wellness expert for multiple online platforms. Find her at www.heidiyoga.com.