Uttana Shishosana: The Relaxing Inversion Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

Uttana Shishosana
English Name(s)
Extended Puppy Pose, Melting Heart Pose
उत्तान शिशोसन/ Uttana Shishosana
oo-TAHN-nah shee-SHO-sah-nah
Uttana = Extended or Intended
Shisho = Puppy
Asana = Pose: Posture

Uttana Shishosana at a Glance

This is a beginner’s and relaxing pose, also known as the Extended Puppy Pose or Melting Heart pose. It is a wonderful pose as it helps to stretch your spine, shoulders, arms, and upper back. It is great for people with shoulder and back pain.


  • Uttana Shishosana helps stretch and strengthen your spine and shoulders, improving your posture.
  • Relieves neck and back pain by releasing tension from your spine.
  • It helps in relaxation and reduces stress.
  • It helps in digestion and encourages deep breathing.
  • Uttana Shishosana pose helps you calm your body and mind.

Who can do it?

Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana) can be done by beginners as a gentle stretch and is practiced by most people. Anyone who wants to stretch, relax, and as a preparatory pose. Pregnant Women may modify the pose for comfort.

Who should not do it?

Anyone who has a leg or knee injury and people with severe lower back problems should not perform the Uttana Shishosana pose. Even people with neck or wrist problems also avoid it. Pregnant women should avoid or consult their doctor.

How to Do Uttana Shishosana?

Follow the Step-by-Step Instructions

Extended puppy pose (Uttana Shishosana) is a beginner, relaxing pose that helps your shoulders, spine, upper back, and lower trap muscles.

  1. Initiate by coming to the tabletop position, your knees under your hips, and your wrists under your shoulders (aligned properly). Keep your feet relaxed and inhale deeply.
  2. Bring your hips over your knees. Exhale and gently move your hands forward (walk your hands), and bring your chest down to the mat.
  3. See that your arms are extended in front, fingers pointing out, and your hips are lifted slightly to form a slide while your forehead touches the mat gently and don’t force too much or strain your neck.
  4. Inhale again, extend your spine and feel the stretch from the fingertips to your hips and the blood circulation.
  5. Hold a few breaths and exhale slowly. Feel the calmness and be relaxed.
  6. To come to the start position of Uttana Shishosana, inhale slowly, walk your hands back, stay in the child pose for a few seconds, and return to the tabletop pose.
  7. Breathe smoothly throughout the Extended puppy pose (Uttana Shishosana), and feel stretched and experience the mind-body connection.
  8. If you feel uncomfortable, adjust yourself with props like blocks or folded blankets, or just come out of the pose and avoid hurting your body. Don’t push yourself and strain your body parts. Just enjoy the flow at your comfort level.

What are the Benefits of Uttana Shishosana?

Benefits of Uttana Shishosana
  • Uttana Shishosana is beneficial for both physical as well as mental aspects.
  • Extended puppy pose stretches and strengthens your spine, making your back muscles more flexible.
  • This offers relaxation and releases tension from your shoulders, arms, wrists, and hips. You can engage your upper arms to maintain stability.
  • Extended puppy pose (Uttana Shishosana) is helpful to improve your digestion by stimulating your digestive organs and can relieve you from bloating, gas, and constipation.
  • Uttana Shishosana can be magic for your nervous system. It relaxes and calms your mind and helps reduce stress and tension.
  • Uttana Shishosana helps you with deep breathing, which can help with minor breathing issues and increases your energy level, maintaining a balance between your mind and body.
  • Extended puppy pose is beneficial for people working long hours without taking many breaks and stress themselves and for people who travel a lot.

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from Uttana Shishosana

Extended puppy pose is one of the yoga poses where people can benefit from various health conditions.

Upper Back Problems

Uttana Shishosana pose benefits people with back and neck pain and stiffness in shoulders, arm tension, and increased flexibility.

Stress and Anxiety

Extended puppy pose (Uttana Shishosana) helps you to relax, reducing stress and anxiety levels.

Poor Posture

This pose can help to correct your posture and prevent hunching your back.

Issues with Digestion

Uttana Shishosana is good for digestive issues like gas, bloating, and constipation.


It helps improve your quality of sleep by relaxing your nervous system.

Breathing Concerns

Extended puppy pose can help in deep and calming breaths, which can help with the respiratory system.

Safety and Precautions

Even for the simple pose, you should take precautions to ensure your comfort and safety. You should avoid this Uttana Shishosana (extended puppy pose) if you have severe wrist, shoulder, back, or neck issues. Pregnant women should modify the pose, use props for comfort and consult their doctor. Your body is the first guide, so listen and do accordingly and don’t overstretch.

Common Mistakes

Uttana Shishosana is a simple and relaxing pose, but mistakes can happen. Don’t just go directly into the pose without any warmup. You can start a preparatory pose like a downward-facing dog or cat-cow pose. It warms up and stretches your muscles. Don’t stretch too much, as it can strain your neck and shoulders. Don’t allow your elbows to touch your mat. Excess arching of your lower back can lead to discomfort. Avoid your hips sinking too low. Don’t push yourself too hard, which can lead to excessive strain.

Avoid locking your knees. Keep it gentle. See that you don’t press your forehead too hard over the mat. It could strain your neck. Rushing into and out of the pose can cause strain to your body, so keep the transition smooth. Neglecting the alignments for Uttana Shishosana can cause strain on your body parts.

Tips for Uttana Shishosana

The following small tips can help you achieve a comfortable Uttana Shishosana pose.

If you are a beginner, you can start slowly, hold your breath for a shorter duration, and gradually progress as you get a better hold of the pose with flexibility and comfort. The downward-facing dog can be one of the preparatory poses before getting into the Uttana Shishosana pose.

Before moving to the Extended puppy pose, you can do a cat-cow pose to warm up your spine. Always lengthen your spine before reaching the mat. Your forehead should touch the mat and align your elbow like a slide with your back to the mat. Keep breathing and watch your hips avoid sinking into your lower arms.

The Physical Alignment Principles of Uttana Shishosana

Physical alignment is the base for any yoga pose to maintain a safe and effective pose.

Starting Pose

Start with the tabletop position. See that your wrists are under your shoulders and knees under your hips.

Hips and Knees

To extend your arms forward, keep your hips directly above your knees.


Before reaching your forehead to the mat, always lengthen your spine slightly and move your hips back.

Forehead and Chest

Gently reach your forehead and chest toward the mat, and don’t force them down.


Your elbows should be slightly above and not touching the mat.

Hips Awareness

Your hip placement should be like a slide, the hip being the upper part of the slide and the tip of your fingers the end part and don’t sink your hips too much.

Uttana Shishosana and the Breath

In Uttana Shishosana (Relaxed Puppy Pose), your breath is music and you start to move step-by-step. While you breathe in, your spine gets extended, and your hips get lifted slightly, creating a slide-like motion. While exhaling, you can see your worries and tension slowly gliding down this slide, away from your fingertips. This pose promotes calm, allowing your breath to flow smoothly, like the gentle waves in the Melting Heart Pose.

As you start doing Uttana Shishosana, your breath and movements work hand in hand, like music and dance. Just Inhale and stretch, exhale, and let go. This may seem simple, but a strong pose helps your body be comfortable in the pose and offers a calm feeling as stress goes away. As you breathe, imagine that each breath melts away tension, and your heart finds peace in the Melting Heart Pose. This pose is helpful for your body and your breath becomes a key to refreshing your mind.

Uttana Shishosana Variations

These variations are made to suit everyone with their body limits and comfort.

Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana) with Block

To make your body more accessible and comfortable, you can place a yoga block or folded blanket under your forehead.

Thread the Needle Variation

A Moderate variation could be the puppy pose to thread the needle pose. From puppy pose, slide one arm into the other gives you a gentle twist and a deep shoulder stretch.

Puppy Pose with Forearms to the Mat

Rather than extending your forearms, you can lower them to the mat, stretching your shoulders and upper back.

Puppy Dog Pose (Uttana Shishosana) with Wide Knees

Separate Keep you apart is an easy variation that can give you a slightly different stretch to your shoulders and spine.

Revolved Puppy Dog Pose

When you are in Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose), you can do a variation by gently twisting your upper body to one side and letting the hips be in the same position. This could give you more deep stretch to your spine and shoulders.

Take Away

Uttana Shishosana, the Extended Puppy Pose, is a simple way to stimulate and relax your digestive system. This pose gives your spine a good stretch and relieves your shoulder and neck tension, giving you comfort. According to your flexibility, you can choose a basic or advanced variation. Taking slow and deep breaths throughout the pose can nurture your body and mind equally. This pose can reduce stress, offering calmness and helping you know yourself better.

Uttana Shishosana (Extended puppy pose) can benefit you both physically as well as on a mental level. Anyone could mostly perform this pose. Doing this pose leaves you relaxed and refreshed, which is good for overall health.  As you start practicing this pose, you will slowly experience a sense of calmness. So, this could be a simple and wonderful way to get rid of the discomfort in your body, improve digestion, or attain mental clarity. Including Uttana Shishosana in your daily routine can overall make you feel better.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.


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