How to Do Upward Facing Dog Pose

Learn how to master this yoga pose that focuses on opening and stretching your chest.

Upward Facing Dog, or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, is part of the Vinyasa flow sequence, connecting Chaturanga Dandasana to Downward Facing Dog pose.

You’ll return to this pose throughout practice, so it’s important to master proper form.

If you find that it’s too challenging, try the modification for Cobra, included below.


Can strengthen legs and stretches chest muscles. Connecting pose between Low Push-Up and Downward Facing Dog.


Lie flat on the mat with your torso on the floor and your toes pointing straight back

  • Place your hands directly under your shoulders
  • Press your palms flat and straighten your arms to lift your chest away from the floor
  • Press the tops of your feet into the mat
  • Squeeze your legs vigorously to lift them away from the floor as you maintain a neutral spine
  • Set your gaze directly in front of you. You can also gently tilt your chin up to move deeper into the backbend

Use the strength in your legs to return to Downward Facing Dog. You can roll over both feet at the same time or turn over one foot, then the other.


To modify the Upward Facing Dog, try the Cobra pose.

  • Place your hands directly under your shoulders
  • Press your palms flat, pull your arms into your sides and lift halfway with bent elbows
  • Keep the tops of your legs on the mat
  • Depending on your level of flexibility, you can gently deepen the pose by working up to straight arms

Consider trying Cobra pose a few times as a warm up. When that feels comfortable, try Upward Facing Dog pose.


One mistake often made is not putting enough power through your legs. Keep them active from start to finish.

Once you’ve mastered this pose, try moving on to standing poses like Warrior 2 and Extended Side Angle.