Finding Serenity: Exploring the Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)

In the world of yoga, finding moments of tranquility amidst life’s chaos is often the goal. Among the myriad of poses that offer relaxation and rejuvenation, the Extended Puppy Pose, also known as Uttana Shishosana, stands out as a gentle yet powerful posture that soothes the mind and body.

This pose, a variation of the traditional Child’s Pose, combines elements of forward folding and gentle backbending, offering a unique stretch that targets the spine, shoulders, and hips. Let’s delve deeper into the benefits and techniques of the Extended Puppy Pose:

Benefits of Uttana Shishosana:

  1. Spinal Extension: Extended Puppy Pose gently stretches the spine, promoting flexibility and relieving tension along the entire length of the back. As you extend your arms forward and lower your chest towards the mat, you create space between the vertebrae, alleviating compression and promoting better posture.
  2. Shoulder Release: This pose provides a deep stretch to the shoulders, particularly the trapezius and deltoid muscles. As the arms reach forward and the chest melts towards the ground, tightness and stiffness in the shoulders gradually dissipate, enhancing mobility and reducing discomfort.
  3. Hip Opening: While not as intense as some other hip-opening poses, Uttana Shishosana gently opens the hips and stretches the hip flexors. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who spend long hours sitting or experience tightness in the hip area.
  4. Calming Effect: Like many yoga poses, Extended Puppy Pose encourages deep, mindful breathing. The gentle compression of the abdomen as you fold forward stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, inducing a sense of calm and relaxation.

How to Practice Extended Puppy Pose:

  1. Starting Position: Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, aligning your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Arm Extension: Keeping your hips stacked over your knees, walk your hands forward on the mat, extending your arms as far as comfortable. Your palms should remain flat on the floor, with your fingers spread wide.
  3. Lowering the Chest: As you exhale, slowly lower your chest towards the ground, allowing your forehead to rest on the mat if possible. Keep your hips lifted and actively engage your core to support your lower back.
  4. Lengthen the Spine: While maintaining a slight engagement in your abdominal muscles, lengthen your spine from the tailbone to the crown of your head. Avoid collapsing into the pose; instead, actively reach your fingertips forward and your tailbone towards the ceiling.
  5. Hold and Breathe: Remain in the pose for 5-10 deep breaths, allowing each inhale to expand your ribcage and each exhale to deepen your stretch. Focus on relaxing any areas of tension and surrendering to the pose.
  6. Release: To exit the pose, gently walk your hands back towards your body, returning to a tabletop position. Take a moment to rest in Child’s Pose or any other comfortable position before transitioning into your next posture.

Modifications and Variations:

  • Support Under the Forehead: If your forehead doesn’t comfortably reach the mat, place a block, bolster, or folded blanket underneath for support.
  • Knee Support: If you experience discomfort in your knees, place a folded blanket or yoga mat under them for extra padding.
  • Arm Position: For a deeper shoulder stretch, bring your hands closer together, or alternatively, widen your arms for a more gentle variation.


  • Avoid this pose if you have a recent or chronic shoulder injury.
  • If you have any discomfort in your lower back, engage your core muscles and avoid sinking into the pose too deeply.

Incorporate Uttana Shishosana into your yoga practice as a calming counterbalance to more strenuous poses, or as a standalone posture to unwind and release tension. With regular practice, you’ll not only experience physical benefits but also cultivate a sense of peace and serenity that extends beyond the mat into your daily life.

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