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Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

ln22010-07-05 19:15:40 +0000 #1
Does anyone have any suggestions for modifications of the posture Urdhva Mukha Svanasana which could be practiced by someone with any of the following conditions:

High Blood Pressure?


Back Pain?
Chandra2010-07-05 19:30:23 +0000 #2
Dear In2,

Thanks for your post to the general yoga forum discussion group. This is a fledgling group, and needs participants to get it's wings. As no responses have yet been posted, I will offer mine to get the ball rolling. Others are encouraged to join in. You may also want to direct your inquiry to Mukunda, who has a wealth of experience to offer.

1) Down facing dog is a forward fold, and these tend to have a sedative or heart rate/blood pressure lowering effect. Of course, this depends upon level of intensity of effort, and duration of the posture as well as whether it is performed dynamically or statically. This posture is frequently a challenge to beginning students, but as the body becomes both stronger and more flexible, it offers a sense of lifting or expansion as well.

Students suffering from high OR low blood pressure, need to monitor their own response to the posture as the best guage for it's effect upon their condition. Most people suffering from high blood pressure will be medicated for this condition.

I would recommend that the student practice breath awareness and pay attention to any changes following the pose. I can be practiced as 1/2 dog at the wall if the intensity of full dog is too great. Using a vinyasa krama method of moving into and out of the pose, perhaps through table and/or child pose would create a rhythm for the breath and exertion.

2) Pregnancy is a good time for yoga practice, but not necessarily a good time to BEGIN a yoga practice. The first 3 months are a critical time for the development of the fetus in it's new home, and yogasana is recommended to be gentle during this time. Up to about the 6th month of pregnancy, non aggressive forward folds are ok, however the compression of the abdomen after that time can have a negative effect upon the womb. I would recommend a wider than average stance be adopted as is comfortable to the mother, and using the wall or a chair for support, practicing half dog if full dog pose is not working for her.

3) Many students have issues with back pain. This pose can aggravate a the lumbar spine if the vertebrae are not willing to extend. I find it helpful to most students to begin their experience of down dog as a back lengthener, forgetting about putting the heels on the floor and keeping the knees comfortably bent. Again, widening the distance between the feet may help. Back pain should not be felt during asana, and if it is present, the asana needs to be adjusted to find comfort and steadiness. Using preliminary preparation of cat lift and tuck from table pose, and entering the pose from extended child assists to facilitate awareness of sensation in the back (sometimes referred to as our unconscious or shadow side as it is hidden from our view).

These are my own reflections and personal opinions. I am not an expert or a yoga therapist, just a yoga student and teacher sharing my observations. Any comments from others, contradictory or similar, are welcomed. Again, it would be interesting to hear what Mukunda may offer to your questions.


Questioner2010-07-05 19:39:10 +0000 #3
Post received from Alyalove - copied here as from Questioner.

Hi Chandra: I am looking around extensively at the forum for the first time

and don't seem to get how to post a reply other than to send an e-mail -- I

think because my password isn't working, (which I wrote to Chris about just

now)? Anyway -- re your reply of 31 January 2001 -- urdhva mukha svanasana

is upward facing dog, not downward facing dog. Not sure if your answer

about downward dog was addressing the same posture that in2 was inquring

about? -- Thanks for everything with the forum!!! -- alyalove



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