Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: March Yoga Pose of the Month

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Strengthens arms, wrists, core, spine and thighs.  Opens chest and shoulders while improving posture.

Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Sanskrit: Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

  • Begin lying down on mat (face down). Legs are lengthened behind with inner thighs spiraling so all ten toes and top of feet are planted in mat.
  • Place palms into mat between shoulders and waist with elbows back. Roll shoulders down the back and engage abdominals by drawing navel in towards spine.  Open chest, broaden collar bone and lengthen the spine.  Inhale and on exhale, press into palms and lift body away from the mat without sinking into low back.  Palms are planted equally and arms are engaged.
  • Press into top of the feet and engage legs. Legs are lifted away from mat and gaze is forward while chest is open.  Stay in pose for 2-3 breaths.  Release by lowering slowing to the floor and move into Child’s Pose to release the lower back.
  • Note: Traditionally this pose is part of the full Sun Salutation series and is approached after a Chaturanga Dandasana.  If performing a modified Sun Salutation, Cobra is the pose performed.

Namaste – The light within me honors the grace and wisdom within you.

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About Author

Celeste Cooper-Peel, ND, MA, MCHES, CWHC, E-RYT

Wellness Manager

Celeste has been in the science, health and wellness field over twenty-five years. She began as a research chemist with a concentration in genetics and nutritional biochemistry. After working in the medical field, she saw the need to follow a path of proactive wellness and prevention. After receiving her Masters in Health Education, she ventured into the mind/body world receiving training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Yoga. Shortly after, she received the 2003 Wellness in the Workplace Award for a large health system in the state of Virginia. In 2004, Celeste joined SAS Institute, Inc. and continues to be passionate in her position overseeing Wellness. She believes curiosity and collaboration bring insight and new ideas which bring out the best in everyone from team members to those who are making healthy lifestyle changes. Believing that the body knows how to heal if given the proper tools, Celeste earned certifications in Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, Classical Chinese Medicine and Homeopathic & Naturopathic Medicine. She earned her Doctor of Naturopathy degree in 2020. Celeste is a published author, wife and mother and practices what she preaches and teaches. She is a nationally recognized Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) and has advanced certificates in Integrative and Functional Nutrition, Genetics and Genomics. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) with the National Yoga Alliance, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor, Certified Wellness and Health Coach (CWHC) and Certified Yoga Therapist (CYT). Follow @ccooperpeel on Twitter and Instagram.

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