Holly Adornetto Owns Upward Facing Dog Pose

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

Mind Body Flow Yoga’s Very Own Holly Adornetto

When Marina asked me to participate in this month’s newsletter, my first inclination was to shut it down…fast!!
I’ve spent most of my life dangerously overweight and hiding from cameras like it’s my job. From family photos, to group outings, to selfies…I avoided them all!
Even in recent years, after working my tail off to lose half of my weight, the scars of my previous physical state haunted me. My physical appearance had changed, but all the shame and self-loathing remained.

My physical appearance had changed, but all the shame and self-loathing remained.

Old habits die hard and self-love doesn’t always come easily. I hid all of these emotions, even from those that loved me the most.
I thought that I could muscle my way out of all that self-doubt with physical strength. I trained and trained and focused on better speed and agility, more burpees and push-ups…all the while doing nothing to heal my old battle scars.

Last year, I experienced a health crisis that rocked my world and I was hospitalized and then came home on an IV and several weeks of nursing home care.
I couldn’t care for myself, let alone my beautiful daughters.
I hated being so weak.
I wouldn’t let any of my sweet, loving friends visit because I couldn’t let them see me like that.
At one point, I remember waking up and my rock solid husband had silent tears rolling down his cheeks as he administered my IV medications. I knew then we needed support but was still too proud to use the incredible network of loving friends and family we have been blessed with.
Once I got the clearance to work out again, I was at it again with a vengeance, running from emotions and building my strength and walls again. I couldn’t bear the thought of being seen as frail and weak.

I couldn’t bear the thought of being seen as frail and weak.

During this time, I didn’t realize how desperately I was searching and in need of real healing. Marina always says your yoga practice finds you when you’re ready, and last year when a dear friend asked me to go to class with her for the millionth time, I finally acquiesced.
Everything in me wanted to cancel at the last minute. All my old fears and self-image issues started to creep in. The thought of being in a room filled with people while trying to move in and out of poses was mortifying!
I had no idea what yoga was about.
Walking into class was nerve-wracking, but after unrolling my mat and listening to the peaceful music and friendly banter, by the time class started, I was feeling a little less intimidated.
The class was challenging, not just physically but emotionally.

I learned about the practice of moving meditation and holding some of those poses brought me into a place of real vulnerability, a place of openness that I had never felt.
I remember at the end of class laying with my eyes closed feeling such a sense of overwhelming quiet and peace, knowing this was another piece of my puzzle.
My practice has become a deeply important part of my life.
Chest and heart openers are my favorite poses now.
I never knew how much damage all that fear and pride was causing, holding me back from any real growth. Those walls were hurting relationships with those closest to me because I couldn’t drop the pretense and just be. This new vulnerability is scary but rewarding.

I never knew how much damage all that fear and pride was causing, holding me back from any real growth.

I can love more deeply and am learning each day to accept myself for who I am.
Yoga started me on a journey to find peace and acceptance of myself. Being surrounded in class by a community of people all on their own journey, but moving together and supporting each other just by being there, is so powerful!
At some point along the way, you learn that yoga isn’t about perfect or pretty, it’s a tool.
The ease you learn to move with and breathe with in class is a skill you can call on in every aspect of your life, from daily frustrations to times of extreme hardship.
Yoga has quietly helped to knock down my walls. Learning to be vulnerable has begun a healing process that has brought me more fulfillment and the ability to find even more joy and a greater appreciation of family, friends, and life!!!!
Leave a comment below. What stood out to you in the testimonial? What significant experience have you had in your yoga journey?

What is this Pose About?

This is a grounded heart opening/chest opening pose. The resulting shape is a deep opening through the chest, lungs, shoulders, and abdomen. Watch Holly 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


  • 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


  • 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?

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