Extended Puppy Pose, also known as Uttana Shishosana, is a profoundly restorative yoga posture that offers numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits. This pose is the perfect cross between Child’s Pose and Downward-Facing Dog, making it ideal for those who want to experience a deep stretch in their spine and shoulders without putting too much pressure on their knees.
Extended Puppy Pose Fundamentals
Uttana Shishosana can be very beneficial for opening up the heart chakra and releasing tension in the upper body. To perform Extended Puppy Pose, follow these step-by-step instructions:
1. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees hip-width apart.
2. Place two yoga blocks shoulder-width apart at the top of your mat, then lower your upper body onto the blocks.
3. Keep your arms active and your hands shoulder-distance apart, with your palms facing down.
4. Walk your hands forward until your chest and forehead rest on the blocks. Rest on a folded blanket if your forehead doesn’t reach the blocks.
5. Keep your hips above your knees and your arms extended, lengthening through your spine.
6. Allow your heart to fall towards the ground, creating a gentle backbend in your upper back.
7. Keep your shoulder blades drawn away from your ears, and focus on relaxing any tension in your upper body.
8. Hold this pose for several deep breaths, allowing your body to relax and surrender to the stretch.
9. To come out of the pose, gently walk your hands back towards your knees and slowly sit up.
It is important to remember to listen to your body during any yoga practice and never push yourself beyond your limits. If you experience discomfort or pain, leave the pose immediately. Extended Puppy Pose can significantly benefit your physical and mental health with consistent practice.
Extended Puppy Pose Benefits
Extended puppy pose offers numerous physical and mental benefits. Here are some of the benefits of this pose:
1. Shoulder Stretch: Extended puppy pose is an excellent stretch for the shoulders and upper back. It helps release tension and stiffness in the shoulder blades, improving flexibility and range of motion.
2. Heart Opener: As you place your heart towards the ground, extended puppy pose creates a gentle backbend in the upper back, opening up the chest and the heart chakra. This helps release any stress or emotions stored in the chest area, leaving you feeling lighter and more optimistic.
3. Deep Stretches: This pose allows for a deep stretch through the spine, helping to elongate the vertebral column and release any tension or compression in the lower back. It also stretches the hips, arms, and abdomen, making it a great whole-body stretch.
4. Increased Blood Flow: Extended puppy pose is a slight inversion pose, which helps increase blood flow to the head, neck, and brain. This can help relieve fatigue and headaches, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and energized.
5. Restorative Posture: Extended puppy pose is a restorative yoga posture that helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, inducing a state of calm and relaxation. It is an excellent pose to practice at the end of a busy day or before bed, helping reduce stress and anxiety.
This pose offers many physical and mental benefits, including shoulder and upper back stretches, heart opening, deep stretches, increased blood flow, and therapeutic benefits. It is a simple and accessible pose that can be easily incorporated into any yoga sequence or daily routine.
Extended Puppy Pose Variations
Several variations of this pose have been developed to cater to different levels of flexibility and fitness goals. Here are some variations that you can try:
1. Supported Puppy Pose – This variation uses yoga props such as blocks, bolsters, or blankets to support the body as it moves deeper into the pose. The props elevate the arms, allowing for a deeper shoulder stretch, and prop up the hips, helping to release tension in the lower back.
2. Puppy Pose Twist – This variation involves turning the torso and extending one arm towards the opposite side of the room while the other arm remains extended forward. This helps to increase the rotation in the spine while still providing a heart-opening stretch.
3. Parivrtta Uttana Shishosana – This variation is a more advanced version of the Extended Puppy Pose, also known as the Revolved Puppy Pose. It involves turning the body to one side while keeping the hips squared and extending the hands forward. This posture is great for improving spinal flexibility and balance.
4. Forearm Extended Puppy Pose – This variation involves placing the forearms on the ground instead of the hands. This variation allows for a deeper shoulder stretch, making it a perfect option for those who want to focus on opening up their upper body.
5. Elevated Extended Puppy Pose – This variation involves performing Extended Puppy Pose with the hands on a raised surface such as a block or a chair. This can help those with tight shoulders or limited flexibility still benefit from the pose by allowing them to relax without straining their muscles.
Overall, these variations of Extended Puppy Pose are a great way to deepen your practice and challenge your body in new ways. As with any yoga posture, listening to your body and performing the variations that feel safe and comfortable is essential. With regular practice, you may find that your body becomes more flexible and open, allowing you to access the full expression of Extended Puppy Pose.
If you’re looking for an immersive space to practice this beneficial pose and learn many others, visit us at Zuda Yoga. Our amazing instructors offer various classes throughout the week and would love for you to join.