Puppy Pose: Know the benefits of Uttana Shishosana

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The Extended Puppy Pose is an easy approach to help your spine and eliminate shoulder and neck strain, providing relief. Here are all the benefits and how to do it.

Yoga is a highly beneficial holistic practise that offers both physical and mental health benefits to people of all ages. If you have a busy work schedule and are looking for a yoga pose that can help calm and relax your body and mind, try the extended puppy pose. Also known as Uttana Shishosana, this yoga pose is a combination of Child’s Pose and Downward Dog that can be performed in their original forms. This pose, also called the Melting Heart Pose, is particularly helpful for those experiencing back and shoulder pain, as it stretches the arms, shoulders, upper back, and spine. It is also believed to aid in the treatment of stress, anxiety, chronic tension, and insomnia. Read on to learn the many benefits of the extended puppy pose.

Why is it called puppy pose?

As the name implies, this pose mimics a puppy stretching its entire body. Despite being an intensive stretch pose, this one is typically done after a strenuous yoga practise with poses addressing the spine, shoulders, and back, says Yoga instructor Saurabh Bothra.

woman doing yoga
Puppy pose is a stretching pose that offers numerous benefits. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to do the extended puppy pose or Uttana Shishosana?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to doing Puppy Pose or Uttana Shishosana:

1. First, you need to get on all your fours like you would in a Child’s pose or Balasana. You will be mirroring a tabletop in this position. This is a different pose altogether, known as Bhramanasana. Take a deep breath in.
2. Now concentrate on your palms pressed against the mat. As you exhale, start walking your hands forward gently.
3. While you are moving forward with your hands, lower your chest slowly. Do not rush or collapse your chest all of a sudden.
4. Go slow and allow your hips to lift up a little bit towards the ceiling.
5. Now, allow your chin or forehead to gently rest on the mat. Extend your arms completely using your fingertips and keep your palms pressed against the floor.
6. Stay in this position, allowing your breath to flow naturally. Feel the stretch along your spine, shoulders, and arms, while keeping your hips and lower back engaged.
7. Your focus should be on listening to your body’s signals – if the stretch turns into a strain, release the pose slowly or adjust according to your comfort.

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How long should you hold a Holding Puppy Pose?

When practising Puppy Pose, try holding the posture for about 30 seconds to a minute. As you settle into the pose, focus on your breath and feel the stretch in your spine, arms, abdomen, back, and hips.

If it feels comfortable, you can extend the duration slightly but always prioritise maintaining a gentle and controlled stretch without pushing your body too far.
Finding the right balance between stretch and ease is key – so your aim should be to listen to your body!

Also Read: Lower back stretches: Benefits and best yoga asanas for your back

What are the benefits of puppy pose?

Puppy pose offers numerous benefits, here are all the benefits of this pose you should know:

1. Stretches your spine

It’s a fantastic way to stretch out and elongate your spine gently. This yoga pose is perfect for anyone feeling tightness or stiffness in the back.

2. Relieves shoulder and arm pain

It can do wonders for our shoulders and arms, releasing tension and giving them a good stretch.

3. Opens up the heart

Our heart opens up as you stretch, thus creating a sense of openness both physically and emotionally!

4. Helps you relax

It’s an excellent relaxation tool that helps you ward off stress. As we settle into the pose and focus on our breath, it can be quite calming for the mind.

5. Releases tension from upper back

If you tend to hold tension in your upper back, Puppy Pose can help ease that tightness, offering a sense of relief.

Yoga poses for neck pain
Doing puppy pose regularly can help relieve back pain. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Who should avoid the puppy pose?

Puppy pose is generally safe for most people, but you need to be extra cautious if you’ve got any wrist, shoulder, neck, or serious back issues. This pose can be a bit uncomfortable for pregnant individuals. You can either modify this pose or use different props to reduce unnecessary pressure on the abdomen.

If you have any specific health conditions, please make sure to discuss them with your doctor. Always remember to listen to your body! It’s okay to modify or skip it entirely if that’s what suits your body’s needs, says the expert.

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