The Extended Puppy Pose, or Uttana Shishosana, is a true restorative packet to the whole body as well as the mind. It provides a deep, deserved stretch to the muscles of the legs, the hips, the spine and genially opens the upper body at the same time. By doing so, it ultimately relaxes, destresses and calms the overworked mind, lowering blood pressure and facilitating healthy breathing.
1.) Begin kneeling on your heels with your hands on the top of your legs.
2.) Move into tabletop position with your hands and knees on the mat and place your hands forward so they are stretched before you, your palms flat on the mat.
3.) Now press your hips back and lower your chest to the mat between your arms.
4.) Hold this position for up to one minute.
5.) When ready to release, simply come back to kneeling position.
The Extended Puppy Pose provides a deep stretch to your whole body and although it may seem like a passive stretch, this pose actually engages your entire back and shoulders from your hips. To increase the stretch, really press into your palms.
The Extended Puppy Pose lengthens the spine and supports the healthy positioning of the anatomical structures in the area, lengthening and aligning vertebrates along the back. At the same time, it releases any pain, discomfort or tension that could have built up from sitting at a desk or chair for an extensive period of time.
The Extended Puppy Pose stretches the muscle of the shoulder girdle and opens the chest, creating lots of space in the region, allowing more potential space for air in the lungs. That is why the position also supports healthy breathing patterns.
Encouraging healthy breathing, the Extended Puppy Pose makes the practitioner pay a bit more attention to themselves and relies heavily on stillness, promoting greater self-awareness. This makes Extended Puppy Pose an excellent option for shorter meditations.
To experiment a little, you can try a variation of the Extended Puppy Pose with a side stretch. Starting from the standard position, bend one of the extended arms at the elbow and thread the forearm under the other arm as far as it feels good. Adjust the stretch and bending of the spine to cater to your personal goals and needs.
In this variation, do not extend the arms forward but bend them forming an approximately 90 degrees angle. Put the bent elbows at the earlier prepared block, adjusted to your personal vision. Intertwine the fingers of the hands together. You can also: support the lifted forearms by the wall if that feels better/ keep your head between your shoulders or press it towards the ground to get beyond their level to deepen the stretch.
Starting from the standard pose, carefully bring the shins up to the back of your thighs. Reach both of your arms back so that your hands can grab both of the ankles and stabilize the shins against the thighs. This variation offers a better shoulder opening.