How to Do Extended Puppy Pose in Yoga (Guide to Uttana Shishosana)

Extended puppy pose is exactly that – a copy of our furry friends taking a deep stretch after their morning nap.

Though this pose can feel quite intense and provides your muscles with lots of love, it can feel wonderfully calming when you take the time to move into it.

The most important thing with extended puppy pose is not to rush into it before your body is ready. Take some time warming up your spine with gentle heart openers before practicing.

“When practiced correctly, extended puppy pose can feel particularly restorative,” says Yoga Answered contributor Keira Shepherd. “Give yourself permission to use as many props as you need to feel comfortable and relaxed in this pose.”

Extended Puppy Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Uttana Shishosana
Pose Type: Forward Bend Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Beginner pose
Targets: Arms, shoulders, chest, upper back, lower back, knees, neck
Benefits: This pose stretches the arms, shoulders, and spine while opening the heart and helping you bring attention to the breath to relax and aid sleep.
Preparatory Poses: Cat-cow pose, child’s pose

How to Do Extended Puppy Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Bring yourself to a tabletop position with your wrists underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips.
  2. Keeping your glutes stacked above your knees, slowly walk your hands away to reach for the front of your mat.
  3. Allow your chest to sink towards the mat as you bring your forehead to the ground or a block. If it’s more comfortable, you can bring your chin to rest on the ground instead.
  4. Let your chest get heavy as you rest in this pose.

Beginner’s Tip

If you have tightness in the shoulders or lack mobility in the spine, this pose can feel pretty intense!

To make it more comfortable, bring a pillow beneath your chest and a block beneath your forehead. In time, you may be able to work your way closer to the ground, but there’s no need to push yourself before you’re ready.

Contraindications

  • Avoid this pose if you have knee or hip injuries.
  • A lot of tightness in the upper body and shoulders can make this pose particularly uncomfortable. Instead, use the props suggested under ‘beginner’s tip’ or practice the variation below.
  • Avoid this pose during the later stages of pregnancy.

Variation

To make this pose more accessible, try practicing with the help of a chair.

Kneel in front of a chair and bring your elbows to rest on the chair with your fingers interlaced. Allow as much bend in your spine as feels comfortable, and use this pose to increase your mobility and work your way up to extended puppy pose.

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