This pose combines the benefits of Child's Pose and Downward-Facing Dog, and Puppy Pose is one of the best shoulder openers to prepare you for arm balances.
(Pronounced as "oot-anna shee-SHO-sanna")
Uttana Shishosana means to stretch yourself out like a young animal would. Here you easily lengthen your spine with your head down to calm the mind.
Sit in between your heels on your yoga mat with your feet next to your hips and your knees together. Let the tops of your feet rest on the mat. Keeping your feet on your heels, bend all the way forward to rest your head on the ground with your arms extended straight out in front of you on the floor. Your palms face downward.
Now inhale. As you exhale, begin to walk your hands forward as you raise your hips and tailbone up in the air at the same time. Keep stretching your arms further forward until your hips are directly above your knees. Your thighs will now be parallel to the floor.
As you relax your forehead down on the floor, your elbows stay off of the floor. Keep your arms active, stretching forward to open your shoulders as much as you can. Your torso will point down toward the floor at a 45-degree angle, and you keep lengthening your back in this position. If you have the flexibility, you can go further by curving your lower back a little to get a deeper opening of your shoulders.
Feel your back extending in two directions. Your tailbone stretches back and your hands continue to slightly reach forward, creating more space for you to breathe into your entire back. Hold this pose for 30 seconds or longer if you are comfortable. Then exhale as you sit back on your heels to come out.
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