Uttana Shishosana or Extended Puppy Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Extended Puppy Pose
Sanskrit
uttanashishoāsana / उत्तान शीशोसन
Pronunciation
oo-TAHN-nah shee-SHO-sah-nah
Meaning
uttana : “intense”
shisho : “puppy”
āsana: “posture”

Introduction

Uttana Shishosana is one of the easiest and most basic yoga poses or asanas, making it the perfect one for beginners. It is a combination of two different asanas, the Child Pose, and the Downward Facing Dog pose. It exercises various parts of your body, such as upper arms, shoulders, neck, back, chest, hips, abdomen, and hamstrings.

This pose relieves stress by deeply stretching the spine. It increases self-confidence and fosters a feeling of self-love. If you have a desk job or you are feeling fatigued, practicing this asana will release any accumulated tension in your body.

Studies based on different Yoga postures such as Uttana Shishosana or Extended Puppy Pose have shown that the pose has various benefits for physical, mental, and spiritual health.

The pose helps in stretching different parts of the body like the spine, hips, and upper back muscles, etc. which in turn improves blood circulation to those areas and results healthy functioning of organs situated there.

Muscle Focus

Plank Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • The Shoulders (Deltoid)
  • Arms (Biceps)
  • Back (Trapezius and Rhomboids)
  • Abdominal Muscles (Lower Abdomen)

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • People having a sedentary lifestyle.
  • To prevent Shoulder-related ailments.
  • For people having rounded back.

Benefits of Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose)

1. It Stretches Upper Back and Shoulders

Practicing extended puppy pose helps to stretch the upper back muscles and shoulders. Stretching these muscles helps to improve body posture. The asana also stretches the hamstrings and reduces chronic muscular tension.

2. It Calms the Mind and the Body

Practicing this helps to make us more grounded. Practicing this pose helps us to surrender and releases all the tensions and burdens that we carry within.

3. It Improves Flexibility, Especially in the Spine

This pose is excellent for improving overall body flexibility. It also helps to increase the spine’s flexibility, which is very important for your overall health. Yoga poses like Uttana Shishosana is one of the best ways that you can improve your body’s flexibility.

4. It is a Great Heart Opening or Chest Opening Pose

This pose also provides a deep stretch to your hip muscles as well as upper back muscles. Stretching these areas improves blood circulation in those areas, resulting in better functioning organs and other parts of the body. Uttana Shishosana is a great heart opener. It expands your chest, thereby decreasing the tension in the back and shoulder areas. As a result, the breathing capacity of your lungs improves.

5. Very Helpful for People Having Rounded Backs

It removes stiffness from the back and shoulder, especially helpful for those having rounded backs and shoulders.

6. Stress Buster

Lastly, the Extended Puppy Pose works as a stress buster. It relaxes the body and calms down all accumulated tensions in different parts of our system making us feel rejuvenated again. Yoga Nidra or yogic sleep after doing this pose for a few minutes is a blissful experience by itself!

7. It Helps to Regulate Prana Flow

Practicing this pose is also believed to help regulate Prana Energy flow in the body. Yoga is all about regulating this energy flow to make us more grounded and balanced both physically and mentally.

Contraindications

Even though this pose is easy and straightforward, there are a few things that should be kept in mind while practicing it. If you have knee and hip injuries, then avoid doing this pose as it can increase the pressure on your knees and further worsen your condition.

You can skip Uttana Shishosana if you have stiff arms and shoulders. Also, if you suffer from severe lower back pain, then it is recommended that you don’t practice this pose because it may aggravate your pain and make your back stiffer.

Along with that, this asana must not be performed in the later stages of pregnancy because the opposite flow of blood can be harmful to the fetus and the mother.

Variations

  • Parivrtta Uttana Shishosana (Revolved Puppy Dog Pose)

Preparatory Pose

  • Cat and Cow Pose
  • Child’s Pose

Beginner’s Tips

  • If you are a beginner, it is best to start by practicing the pose against a wall. This will help you to get the correct alignment and also make it easier for you to hold the pose for a longer period of time.
  • Once you have mastered the pose against the wall, you can then try practicing it without support. Make sure that your hips are higher than your shoulders and chest. Keep your gaze focused on the floor in front of you and keep breathing evenly throughout the duration of the asana. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds to experience its full benefits.

How to do Extended Puppy Pose

Steps for doing Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose)

  • Start with Child Pose: At first, start by positioning yourself on all fours on a yoga mat with knees spread apart about hips-width. The big toes should be touching each other and your knees should be aligned with the buttocks.
  • Tuck in your chin: Now, tuck in your chin towards the chest and bring your forehead down to touch the ground as much as possible without straining yourself. As you do this, deeply inhale through the nose while simultaneously exhaling out of your mouth slowly.
  • Release tension: After that, release all tension from shoulders by moving them away from ears until they are stacked right over elbows which remain bent at a 90-degree angle relative to upper arms throughout pose execution. Your forearms and palms now remain flat on the Yoga mat beneath you with fingers spread out wide apart pointing forward direction stretching across the Yoga mat surface forming a straight line.
  • Inhale and lift your torso up: Now, on an inhale slowly raise your torso while keeping the forehead pressed to the floor. Keep your hips in place and only move your upper body forward until you come into a position where your arms are straightened but shoulders are not shrugged nor hunched. You should feel like you are lengthening through the entire spine with this movement. Hold for a few breaths.
  • Exhale and release: To release, exhale, and slowly lower yourself back to starting Child Pose position, forehead still touching Yoga mat. Take long deep breaths here.

Mental Benefits of Extended Puppy Pose

  • Relieve stress.
  • Makes us mentally alert and clear-minded.
  • Increasing self-confidence
  • Fostering a feeling of self-love.

Bottom Line

Uttana Shishosana is one of the best poses to do if you want to improve flexibility, calm the mind, and reduce stress. It is also great for improving body posture. The steps are easy to follow and can be done by anyone, regardless of Yoga experience level. So what are you waiting for? Give this pose a try today!

1 sources
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7336942/
Meera Watts
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes, and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa, and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali), and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

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