Calming Pose #3
Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)
This is a cross between the Child’s Pose and Downward Facing Dog Pose. It is sometimes called the Melting Heart Pose and is great if you hold tension in your shoulders and upper back. (Thanks to Yoga Journal for the photo.)
Let’s Do It:
Get down on all fours – shoulders above wrists, hips above knees.
Exhale and walk your hands out in front of you. Allow your chest to come towards the floor, relax the neck and bring your forehead to the floor. You can place a small pillow under your forehead for comfort if you like.
Keep your elbows off the ground, arm muscles active. Spread fingers and feel the connection to the ground as you broaden your shoulders.
Inhale and push hips back slightly towards your feet to lengthen the spine and stretch through the arms.
Breathe into your back (5 – 10 breaths) before slowly and gently returning to tabletop position. Slowly in the key word here. If you move too quickly, you may feel some dizziness.
Modify the pose:
Knees are very susceptible to injury so you may feel more comfortable with a folded towel placed beneath them to cushion the impact. Some people also like to place a cushion or rolled towel under the chest for support.
Curling the toes under produces a different stretch through the lower legs.
Note: If you have knee injuries, this position is not recommended.
Stretches spine, shoulders and upper arms.
Therapeutic for anxiety and stress. The Extended Puppy Pose brings a sense of calm into the body.
Useful for easing insomnia.
I know that when I have spent too much time in front of my computer I begin to “turtle” – I round my shoulders and push my chin and neck forward. This means that all the muscles in those areas hold a lot of tension because this is not an appropriate sitting position. I have caught myself “turtling” sometimes when I am driving, particularly if the traffic is not flowing well or if I am tired.
The Extended Puppy Pose is wonderful for releasing the tension caused by “turtling”. Going into the pose and simply counting through 10 long, slow breath sequences works wonders. From there I move into Legs up the Wall.
Let me know how the Extended Puppy works for you.
Image: Life with Dogs TV
Legal Disclaimer: Before embarking on any fitness regimen you should consult your doctor for advice as to its suitability for your particular health concerns.