How To Teach Upward Facing Dog Pose Using Yoga Imagery & A Poet’s Heart

Step 1
Teach Sanskrit
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

ūrdhva = up
mukha = face
śvān = dog
āsana = posture

Step 2
Teach Dog imagery

Here are some Upward Facing Dog symbolism you can bring up during the class:

  • Fetch (what games have you played recently?)
  • Friendship
  • Focus
  • Fun
  • Letting go of the past (e.g. a loud telling off)
  • Licking (or “kissing” for us humans)
  • Living in the moment
  • Loyalty
  • Play
  • Service

Step 3
Teach Dog Imagery

OK, now it’s time to immerse yourself in dog philosophy, which is nice to bring up while your students are practicing upward facing dog pose.   Yoga imagery will make your class much more memorable and interesting!  Here are some examples I have used when teaching upward facing dog pose to my classes…

Call upon the dog when you need one pointed focus.”

“Dogs know how to have fun.  Do you?”

“Is there anything fun you’ve been meaning to do, but have been putting off?”



“From a spiritual stand-point, dogs are champions of service.  How can you best be of service to your friends, family and community?”

“If you know of a friend or family member in need, is it time to reach out and be of service to them?”

“If you’re taking life a wee bit too seriously, become a dog for a minute or two and do something that makes your tail wag.”

“Instead of finding the unknown journey ahead of you “daunting”, become a dog in your mind and enjoy the moment.”

“If you find yourself getting stressed, practice dog pose in your mind or on your mat and allow joy to enter your heart.”

Step 4
Watch A Video Tutorial

Step 5
Teach The Directions

1) Lie on stomach. Stretch legs back with tops of feet on floor. Bend elbows, spread palms on floor beside waist.

2) Inhale, press inner hands firmly into floor and slightly back, as trying to push yourself forward along floor.  Straighten arms, simultaneously lift torso and legs off floor on an inhalation. Keep thighs firm but don’t harden buttocks.

3) Look straight ahead.

4) Release to floor with an exhalation.

Step 6
Teach The Benefits 

  • Improves posture
  • Strengthens spine, arms, wrists
  • Stretches lungs, shoulders,  abdomen
  • Firms buttocks
  • Stimulates core muscles
  • Helps relieve depression, fatigue, sciatica
  • Therapeutic for asthma

Step 7
Teach Modifications

Step 8
Teach Precautions