// Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: Upward Facing Dog
I can find so many reasons to close my heart. To protect it and hide it. As the days pass, and the seasons change, as the ball of my life continues to roll on and on, I age, and I begin to acquire more painful experiences both personal and worldly, as every other human does. Sometimes it can seem impossible to look into the mirror and grieve the failures, the loss of loved ones, and the sheer brokenness written over my body and over the body of the world. Some days they feel so imprinted and vast that I cannot imagine there being any additional space for more broken hearts. This is utterly paralyzing.
Our Yoga practice calls us to show up, each day, and face whatever it is in front of us. When I want to retreat and hide behind my scars, my practice asks me to stand up, step forward, and reveal my face, to look at it, for as long as I need to in order to see the truth. When I, objectively, look into the mirror and engage with what I see, the imperfections and pain are not the only items of note, I begin to see much beauty and much hope. Then I think, maybe, I can do this again, take a chance, step up, reveal myself, and if my heart is broken again, and it will be, that I have everything I need to pick the pieces up.
It takes a tremendous amount of strength and courage to open our heart and spread our light, but when we do, we can be renewed. The featured pose for this month urdhva mukha svanasana, upward facing dog, is an extroverted pose. It calls us to show up, open our hearts, and share our light. The opening of our chest is invigorating. Mentally, this motion can increase self-confidence and aspiration. Instead of feeling paralyzed, we can feel motivated to promote change, engage with hope, and unabashedly love.
Somatically speaking, up dog is a strong, powerful pose. It strengthens nearly the whole body: arms, wrists, legs, core, and back. It provides a deep stretch for the chest, shoulders, belly, and hip flexors. One of the greatest benefits of this position is that it combats our greatest enemy; sitting at a desk all day long hunched over. To learn how to do this posture, read on.Read More