The Extended Puppy Pose — Uttana Shishosana is great for opening your spine and shoulders, but it primarily focuses on arms, shoulders, back (lower and upper back), knees, neck and pelvic.
It is one of the easy and simple forward bends that one can practice in yoga. When you are feeling tired, or when you are stuck behind a desk or in a chair all day, uttana shisuana is a great way to energize the physical and subtle body. Energetically, the asana has the benefits of increasing both self-confidence and self-love.
|Extended Puppy Pose, Uttana Shishosana, Intense Puppy Pose
|Forward bend pose
|Back, spine, arms, shoulders, knees, neck, pelvic
|30 to 60 seconds
|Upward, Closed; Bhrumadhye or Ajna Chakra
|Anahata (Heart) Chakra, Vishuddha (Throat) Chakra, Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra
|Spine, shoulder, legs, glutes, back, stress, insomnia
|Balasana (Child’s Pose), Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Twist Pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
|Balasana (Child’s Pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge Pose), Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), Marjariasana (Cat Pose), Bitilasana (Cow Pose)
|Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), Balasana (Child’s Pose), Savasana (Corpse Pose)
|Knee injury, Neck injuries, Shoulder injuries, High blood pressure, Pregnancy
Meaning, philosophy and genesis
Uttana Shishosana is a Sanskrit term that consists of three words — Uttana + Shishu + Asana:
- “Uttana” = “extended” or “stretched out”
- “Shishu” = “puppy” or “young dog”
- “Asana” = “pose” or “posture”
So, Uttana Shishosana can be translated as “Extended Puppy Pose” in English. The pose is named after the way that a young dog stretches its body, and it is a variation of Balasana (Child’s Pose) and Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose).
Extended Puppy Pose is a great reminder of why we practice yoga: to find tools to feel better and to help us live our best lives. Named due to the vibe of dogs and puppies stretch, this asana, while far from fancy, is effective in its simplicity. As humans, we want to complicate life, always looking to the past or future to find meaning.
Allow yourself to settle into your senses as you practice the Extended puppy pose and to linger (and lengthen) in the best of sensations.
Benefits of Extended Puppy Pose — Uttana Shishosana
Most of the benefits gained while practicing this asana is considered to be similar to the practice derived from the asana of Prasarita Balasana. Below are the physical and mental benefits.
- Improves flexibility in the spine and shoulders
- Stimulates the nervous system Aids digestion
- Opens the chest, neck, and shoulders
- Strengthens your back, glutes, and hamstrings
- Stretches your arms and shoulder
- Stimulates and strengthens back muscles
- Improves blood circulations
Extended Puppy Pose — Uttana Shishosana Instructions
- Start on your mat in tabletop position with stack your shoulders directly above the wrists and hips just above your knees, and tuck your toes instead of pointing them.
- Keep your hips above the knees and slowly begin to walk your hands out in front of you, lowering the chest down toward the ground.
- Either your forehead rest on the mat, or on a block, or bring your gaze forward, so that the chin rests gently on the mat, It depends on your body and neck.
- To deepen the stretch along your spine and through your chest and shoulders, press more firmly through your hands as you pull your hips back to create traction.
- Stay for up to 10 breaths. When you are ready to get out of this posture, slowly lift the forehead and walk your palms back toward your body to press up to Tabletop.
Note: Uttana Shishosana is for all, only restriction for people with knee injury.
Modification and adjustment of Extended Puppy Pose:
To make this yoga asana a little more comfortable for beginners, below are some tips to keep in mind while practicing this asana.
- If you want to consider this asana as a restorative posture, then placing the extra blanket on the knee and chest will give the whole body a rest.
- You can practice this asana on the bed, If you are not able to open the shoulders and chest on the floor or mat.
- Performing this asana with the support of your arms and face with blankets or yoga blocks will reduce unwanted stretch on your neck.
- If there is pain in your lower back while stretching, then you can reduce the stretching of your arms and go as your body can move comfortably.
- The longer this asana is to hold, the greater the benefit you will get, but depending on the flexibility of your shoulders and arms you can hold it comfortably.
- Applying bolsters between your legs and thighs or even yoga blocks will help to perfect the alignment of your body and keep you hold for a long time.
- Extended Puppy Pose can cause some discomfort in the head due to the position of your neck. Therefore, at the time of releasing yourself from this asana, you need to take steps gentle and slow while releasing your shoulder and leave your chest soft.
Precautions and contraindications
Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose) is generally a safe and soft posture that can be practiced by most people. However, there are some differences that must be considered before practicing this posture.
- Neck injuries: If you have a neck injury or pain, you should avoid this posture or modify it by placing a block or blanket under your forehead to avoid putting too much pressure on the neck.
- Knee injuries: If you have a knee injury or pain, you should avoid this posture or modify it by a blanket or block below your knees for support.
- Shoulder injuries: If you have a shoulder injury or pain, you should avoid this posture or modify it to avoid putting too much weight on the shoulders. You can place a block or blanket under your chest to reduce pressure on the shoulders.
- High blood pressure: If you have high blood pressure, you should practice this posture with caution and avoid putting too much pressure on your head or neck. You can keep your head elevated by a block or bolt under your forehead.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women should avoid nobility after the first trimester as the posture involves spreading the stomach and can put pressure on the uterus. Women who are pregnant should also avoid any currency that involves lying on the stomach.