Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose) – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Asanas (Yoga Poses) Glossary

I. What is Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose)?

Uttana Shishosana, also known as Extended Puppy Pose, is a yoga asana that combines elements of both Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) and Balasana (Child’s Pose). This pose is a gentle backbend that stretches the spine, shoulders, and arms while also opening the chest and heart center. Uttana Shishosana is a beginner-friendly pose that can be practiced by yogis of all levels.

II. How to Perform Uttana Shishosana?

To perform Uttana Shishosana, start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Make sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders and your knees are hip-width apart. On an exhale, slowly walk your hands forward as you lower your chest towards the mat, keeping your hips stacked over your knees.

Extend your arms out in front of you with your palms pressing into the mat. Your forehead can rest on the mat or a block for support. Keep your hips lifted and engage your core to protect your lower back. Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths, then slowly release and come back to tabletop position.

III. What are the Benefits of Practicing Uttana Shishosana?

Practicing Uttana Shishosana offers a variety of benefits for both the body and mind. Some of the key benefits include:

1. Stretching the spine: Uttana Shishosana helps to lengthen and stretch the spine, relieving tension and promoting better posture.
2. Opening the shoulders and chest: This pose helps to release tightness in the shoulders and chest, improving flexibility and mobility in these areas.
3. Calming the mind: The gentle backbend in Uttana Shishosana can help to calm the mind and reduce stress and anxiety.
4. Improving digestion: The gentle compression of the abdomen in this pose can aid in digestion and help to relieve bloating and discomfort.
5. Strengthening the arms and shoulders: Holding the pose requires strength in the arms and shoulders, helping to build muscle and endurance in these areas.

IV. What Muscles are Targeted in Uttana Shishosana?

Uttana Shishosana primarily targets the following muscles:

1. Spinal extensors: The backbend in this pose stretches and strengthens the muscles along the spine, including the erector spinae.
2. Deltoids: The shoulders are engaged in this pose as they help to support the weight of the body.
3. Pectoral muscles: The chest is opened and stretched in Uttana Shishosana, targeting the pectoral muscles.
4. Latissimus dorsi: The muscles of the upper back are engaged to support the chest and shoulders in this pose.

V. What are Some Modifications for Uttana Shishosana?

There are several modifications that can be made to Uttana Shishosana to make the pose more accessible or to deepen the stretch:

1. Use a block: Place a block under your forehead for support if you have tight shoulders or neck.
2. Use a blanket: Place a folded blanket under your knees for extra cushioning and support.
3. Widen the knees: If you have tight hips, you can widen your knees slightly to make the pose more comfortable.
4. Use a strap: If you have tight shoulders, you can use a strap to help extend your arms forward in the pose.

VI. Precautions and Contraindications for Uttana Shishosana

While Uttana Shishosana is a gentle pose, there are some precautions and contraindications to be aware of:

1. Avoid this pose if you have a recent or chronic shoulder injury.
2. If you have any neck issues, keep your forehead on the mat or a block to avoid straining the neck.
3. Pregnant women should avoid deep backbends like Uttana Shishosana.
4. If you have any wrist issues, you can place a folded blanket under your wrists for support.

Always listen to your body and modify the pose as needed to ensure a safe and comfortable practice. If you have any concerns or medical conditions, consult with a healthcare provider before practicing Uttana Shishosana or any other yoga poses.