Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana) is like the perfect combination of Downward Dog and Child’s Pose, and can be used as a variation of either. Also referred to as Melting Heart Pose, this posture quite literally invites the heart to melt down toward the ground, stretching the spine in both directions. A good warm-up or closer to your yoga sequence, Uttana Shishosana is one of those feel-good poses, like Child’s Pose or Happy Baby: simple, sensory, and stretchable.
What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
This asana must be performed on an empty stomach. You must have your meals at least four to six hours before you practice yoga. You must also make sure that your bowels are empty. If you have a knee injury, avoid practicing this pose.
How To Do The Uttana Shishosana : Step-by-Step Instructions
- Come to all fours (Tabletop position) with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, your hips stacked over your knees, and the tops of your feet relaxed down on the mat.
- Slowly begin to walk your hands out in front of you, lowering your chest down toward the ground. Keep your hips over your knees and your arms shoulder distance apart, and gently release your forehead down to the ground.
- Activate your arms by pressing into the palms of your hands and lifting your elbows and forearms away from the ground. Draw your shoulder blades onto your back and reach your hips up high toward the ceiling.
- Invite your neck to relax and breathe into your back, lengthening your spine in both directions.
- Remain in the pose anywhere from 5 to 10 breaths, then gently lift your forehead and walk your palms back toward your body to press up to Tabletop.
- Try placing a rolled up blanket or bolster lengthwise between your legs to engage the leg and hip muscles and protect your lower back in this pose. This can help to facilitate a longer hold. A bolster can also be placed underneath the chest to make the pose more restorative.
- If you experience any discomfort releasing your forehead to the floor, take a folded blanket or towel underneath your head for support. The chin can also be taken to the floor, but this variation should be practiced with caution due to the potential for straining the back of the neck.
- Given that this pose is a mild inversion, coming out quickly may cause dizziness due to a sudden change in blood flow. Remember to ease out of the pose slowly and mindfully, and take as much time as you need to sit or lie down before moving on.
You can hold this pose longer and protect your knees and lower back by placing a rolled-up blanket or bolster between your thighs and calves.
Modifications & Variations
Place your elbows on the ground if it feels like too much effort in your shoulders.
Benefits Of The Uttana Shishosana
- Stretches the spine and shoulders
- Calms the mind and invigorates the body
- Improves flexibility, especially in the spine
- Relieves symptoms of chronic stress, tension, and insomnia
- Strengthens and stretches the arms, hips, and upper back
Extended Puppy stretches the spine, shoulders, upper back, and arms, making this pose great (or challenging, depending on how you look at it!) for those who tend to hold tension in their shoulders and upper back.