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Puppy Pose


Yoga Posture - Puppy Pose

Puppy Pose is a simple yet highly effective yoga pose!

To many this pose may not look like a yoga pose at all. It's actually a perfect example of a pose that looks simple but may surprise you. Of course, it's easy to see why it's called Puppy Pose, you certainly do resemble a puppy in a playful posture. If you don't believe it, just take a close look at puppy during playtime.

This pose strongly resembles both Downward Facing Dog and Child's Pose. You could say that it's a little less complicated than Down Dog but probably a little harder than Child's Pose, although that could vary depending on your practice. You'll likely run across this pose in a restorative yoga class as it has become a popular selection among yoga instructors.

Puppy isn't a pose with complicated alignment issues, however for a simple pose it still offers numerous variations and options.

Uttana Shishosana is the Sanskrit name for this posture. The breakdown for the Sanskrit name is as follows, "Uttana" meaning "Stretched Out", "Shishu" meaning "Puppy", "Asana" meaning "Pose". Puppy is the most common name for this posture, but it's also possible that you may hear it referred to as "Melting Heart Pose".

Regardless of what name you use for this yoga pose, there's no denying it's ability to offer wide ranging benefits. Most of the benefits are focused on the upper body including the shoulders, spine, chest and neck. For this reason, Puppy is known as a pose that will aid in reducing tension in the shoulders and neck, a common gathering place for stress.



Benefits Of The Pose:

As mentioned, Puppy Pose isn't lacking in helpful and healthful benefits.

This yoga pose will provide perks for the upper body, especially the shoulders and spine. The chest and neck can also reap benefits from a steady dose of Puppy Pose. The shoulders and spine will enjoy the healthy stretch from practicing this posture and it can also allow for the release of tension from the neck.

It's no secret that many of us harbor tension and stress throughout our bodies. This can be especially true in our shoulders and neck. If you spend your day at a desk, it's virtually a guarantee that poor posture and hunching will occur and allow the build up of shoulder and back stress. Puppy Pose can help release some of that tension with a nice shoulder stretch.

Stretching the spine is also beneficial. As the old saying goes, "A Flexible Spine Is A Healthy Spine". This posture most certainly can offer a nice spine stretch. Once the spine is flexible, you will find that many daily tasks may become easier.

Puppy Pose is also a mild inversion. Inversions offer super benefits and this pose can give you a small taste. Since Puppy gets your heart slightly above your head, you will create some reversal of blood flow. This reversal will allow for fresh blood flow to the brain which is needed for sharp mental focus and concentration.

Primary Benefits:

Stretches The Spine

Stretches The Shoulders

Reduces Tension

Opens The Chest

A Mild Inversion




Prep & Follow Up Poses:

There are several postures that can work as preparatory poses for Puppy Pose. These poses include Child's Pose, Hero Pose, Seated Forward Fold Pose, Cat Pose and Cow Pose.

Follow Up poses include but are not limited to Downward Facing Dog Pose, Dolphin Pose, plus Cat Pose and Cow Pose.


Modifications & Cautions:

Exercise caution during this pose or avoid the pose if you're recovering from any knee, shoulder, neck or back injuries.

Always consult with your doctor before practicing yoga during an injury recovery.

Raise onto your fingertips for a small wrist stretch.

You can allow your elbows to rest on the ground if your shoulders are being overworked.

Place forehead on a block to support the neck.

Place a towel under the knees to support the knees especially if you feel any pain.

If desired, you can rest your chin on the ground for an extra stretch to the neck and throat.

Placing a block between the thighs and feet will help you maintain alignment and may reduce discomfort in the lower back.


Major Tips:

Keep your hips directly over your knees.

Make sure your knees are hips width apart.

Allow your shoulders to rest away from your ears and relax them.

Keep your feet aligned with your knees and place the tops of your feet on the ground.

Place your palms flat on the ground with your fingers spread.

Allow your forehead to rest on the ground.

Keep your spine long, keeping it straight and extended.

Draw your navel upward and pull your hips back while extending your arms.

Remember to use props between the thighs and feet if needed to help with alignment.

Exit this pose slowly to avoid possible dizziness from the mild inversion.




Step-By-Step Instructions:

We will begin our transition to Puppy Pose while in Table Top position.

While on all fours, let's double check our alignment.

Make sure your hips are over your knees and your wrists should be directly beneath your shoulders.

Place the tops of your feet on the ground and your palms flat on the ground.

Take a few breaths.

On an exhale, begin to walk your hands out in front of you.

Allow your chest and upper body to slowly lower toward the floor, once low enough, let your forehead rest on the earth.

Spread your fingers and allow your shoulders to relax away from your ears. Your shoulders should feel broad.

Draw in your navel and lengthen your spine. The spine should be long and straight, try not to allow it to collapse toward the floor.

Reach your hips back and up while engaging your arms with the elbows slightly off the ground.

Hold the pose for a few breaths or longer if desired.

If you desire to hold the pose longer in a restorative manner, you may consider using props for extra support if needed.

To exit the pose, slowly lift your head from the floor and walk your hands back toward your body into Table Top position.