[VIDEO] Gina Owns Upward Facing Dog

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John Doe

Please meet Gina Adornetto. She is Mind Body Flow Yoga’s featured student for this month’s newsletter. Gina has a beautiful yoga practice and was generous in sharing it with us, as she demonstrates Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana).

Gina Shares Her Yoga Journey

I’ve been coming to Mind Body Flow Yoga for a year and a half. Before that, I only dabbled in yoga when I needed a good stretch, after a long run or hard workout. Even before I had a deep understanding of what a yoga practice could offer, I was gravitating to my yoga mat as a place for recovery and care.
With that said, before MBFY, I had never even considered attending a yoga class. In fact, I cringed at the idea. I was not a fan of group exercise. Frankly, it seemed cheesy, because real hard work, should be done alone, so you can focus (or, so I thought, at the time). I was of this solitary opinion when I was living alone in a new town, a day’s drive away from my family and friends. I had moved for work. It was a great career move, but I was miserable!

In the meantime, my mom, sister-in-law, and other friends were back home having the time of their lives going to “the most awesome yoga studio, the people are amazing, I feel amazing, Marina and Rebecca….” Like, swooning for yoga class! Meanwhile, I’m all alone, going on long runs till I’m sick, because I had a bad day at work and needed to blow off steam.
So, here I am alone, focused, working hard, running hard, and feeling like life is hard – knowing deep down inside it can all be easier, because I can picture a place where it is. It’s home, it’s doing work that I love, with people that I love. So, I took my first step toward ease and moved back home. I changed things up.
I went to MBFY my first week back at home – that was a year and a half ago.
It took a few formal yoga classes to really get the hang of the moving meditation thing. Mostly, I was trying to stay upright, or downright – whatever the pose. Once the poses became natural and Marina cured me of my fear of closeness, with a few sweaty partner exercises, the concept of flow started to really land for me. I was able to focus on my intentions so sharply, in a room full of other people.

Since then, I’ve grown to appreciate a sense of a collective. I had to let go of the notion that there is fragility in needing community and support. I’ve grown as a human, as a yogi, as a sister, daughter, and friend, since coming home and finding MBFY.
There are moments of clarity in my yoga practice that I cannot achieve anywhere else. A moment in Childs Pose, to set my intention for the day, be patient, and kind. A wide open Warrior Two Pose, to visualize one thing – my goals. A chance to look up and go back in Peaceful Warrior Pose, to see what I can see and stop hesitating. A Tree Pose, to root down and grow into my potential. Each expression strengthening my physical body and mind alike, and the strength in lessons follows me off my yoga mat.
I take a little of every pose into my day, trying to carry with me the ease I cultivate on my mat among a group of yogis doing the very same thing for themselves – finding ease where we can, to strengthen and grow where we need to.

What is this Pose About?

*If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
This is a grounded heart opening/chest opening pose. The resulting shape is a deep opening through the chest, lungs, shoulders, and abdomen. Watch Gina enter this asana from Mountain Pose (Tadasana). She will exit the pose and land back in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) as well.
Here are a few things to keep in mind, if you decide to try this pose, or if you have already started to experiment and play around with it.

Tips for Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

  • On an inhale, press your hands into the mat and roll the tops of your shoulders back and down (away from your ears)
  • Bring the bottom tips of your shoulder blades forward, toward your front body, and lift your chest
  • Straighten your arms and press the tops of your feet down as you lift your torso and thighs off the floor
  • Your wrists, elbows, and shoulders should now be “stacked” upright in one straight line

Benefits

  • Improves posture
  • Strengthens the spine, arms, and wrists
  • Stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
  • Firms the buttocks
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Helps relieve mild depression, fatigue, and sciatica
  • Therapeutic for asthma

Caution

  • Use caution with this pose if you have a back injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, headache, or are pregnant

Have you tried this pose before? What has been your experience?