Soften to Open this February with this Month’s Yoga Pose: Extended Puppy Dog


Since February is the month of our day of love, this months pose is a heart opener. This months pose has been referred to as Extended Puppy Dog or Hearth Melting Pose. Other sanskrit terms for it are: Anahatasana (An-aha-tas-ana) or Uttana Shishosana (Oht-ana She-shoe-sana).

Whatever name you use, the goal of the pose it to open the heart center or Anahata Chakra (Aw-na-haw-ta Shaw-cra).  It also fights the rounding of our upper back and shoulders which is persisted by so many or our day to day activities like driving and typing on a computer or laptop.

The Heart Chakra is at the center of the seven chakra system. When it is closed or blocked, it affects the others around it too.  I think it is a most important chakra to keep open.

Since we are in the middle of winter, a time of year that plants and animals conserve energy; it feels like a good time for us humans to do the same so this months pose is a passive one.

The heart chakra has a relationship to breath. As you breathe into this pose, you will soften around the heart. It also opens the shoulders and it is a lovely modification to Downward Facing Dog, one of the most common poses in a yoga practice. It is an especially great variation for individuals with wrist issues since there is no pressure on the wrist.


  1. Get onto your hands and knees (place a blanket or extra padding under the knees if they are sensitive).
  2. Walk your hands forward in front of you while keeping them shoulder distance apart.
  3. Allow your forehead to rest on the floor and let your chest open up and lower toward the floor as well. Keep your hips right above your knees.


People with knee issues will want to have a blanket handy. If your forhead does not comfortably reach the floor, try placing a block or bolster under it to see how that feels.  You can place a block, bolster or a folded blanket under your heart. Play around with it because in order to release into the pose, there should be a sense of support and comfort.

Breathe and release. Soften, surrender and open.

Patio Yoga, Marin Magazine, Kristen Addicks