//Uttana Shishosana: Puppy Pose or Melting Heart Pose
Hello again, Gratitude. You’re the friend I’m reminded of this time of year, and the one I try never to forget. You seep into my practice daily, working your magic through each posture to yoke me to the Creator. Gratitude reminds me that my practice is enough, that my breath is enough, and that I am enough. More than enough: worthy of wild, unadulterated praise.
Uttana Shishosana (puppy pose) is a simple, feel good motion that stretches the shoulders and spine, invigorates the mind, and relieves stress, tension, and insomnia. Also referred to as melting heart pose, this mild inversion invites the opening of your heart to the earth and the humbling of your being to the heavens. In this reorientation of the body, we are able to recognize an imperative notion to believing in gratitude, that we are all connected and bound together by something greater than ourselves. With our heart open to the earth, we receive all of its bounty, we acknowledge that we are not alone and that our existence and breath is nourished by all creatures great and small. In this I am humbled and grateful.
Come to all fours, tabletop position, with wrist directly under shoulders and knees directly under hips. Allow the tops of your feet to relax onto the mat.
Gently begin to walk your hands out in front of you and begin to lower your chest toward the ground. Keep your hips stacked over your knees and your arms shoulder distance apart. Release your forehead to the mat.
Press your palms firmly into the mat, spreading all ten fingers apart, and lifting your elbows and forearms off the ground. Release your shoulder blades down your back and reach your hips up towards the sky. Relax your neck and breath along your spine, lengthening it in both directions
Remain in this pose for 5 to 10 breaths. To release, lift your forehead and walk your hands back to tabletop, and back into child’s pose.
If it is difficult for your forehead to reach the mat or if you are feeling tight in the shoulders, use a bolster or blanket to support your forehead.
To hold this posture for longer than 5-10 breaths, place a blanket or bolster in between your legs lengthwise. Engage your hips and legs to protect your lower back.
If you have more flexibility through your chest and shoulders, you can place your chin or your chest to the mat instead of your forehead. If you choose this variation, move gently, as this could cause some strain through your neck.
Avoid this position if you have any knee or leg injuries.
Since this position is a mild inversion, the change of blood flow can cause minor dizziness. Release slowly and gently out of this pose.