How To Do The Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

The Downward Facing Dog which justifiably has a place among yoga’s most renowned yoga poses; proffers the ultimate full body, revitalizing stretch.

downward facing dog

POSE INFORMATION

GENERAL INFO

Name in Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Svanasana
Difficulty: Easy

POSE BENEFITS

  • Alleviates stress, eases mild depression and soothes the brain.
  • Invigorates the body.
  • Stretches the calves, arches, hands, hamstrings and shoulders.
  • Toughens the legs and arms.
  • Helps ease menopausal symptoms.
  • Alleviates menstrual pain when performed with head propped.
  • Assists in averting osteoporosis.
  • Enhances digestion.
  • Relieves fatigue, insomnia, back pain and headache.
  • Helpful for, asthma, high blood pressure, sciatica, flat feet and sinusitis.

POSE CAUTIONS

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Diarrhea
  • Pregnancy: The Downward-Facing Dog pose should not be done during late term
  • Headache or High blood pressure: Your head should be propped between your arms at ear level on a block or bolster.
yoga asana

HOW TO PRACTICE THIS ASANA

ONE

Position yourself with your knees and hands on the floor. Place your knees right beneath your hips with your hands a little ahead of the shoulders. Lay out your palms with your index fingers in parallel or a little turned out and toes turned under.

TWO

Breathe out and raise your knees up from the ground. At the start, the knees should be a bit bent with the heels raised up from the ground.

Extend your tailbone far from your pelvis rear and push it gently in the direction of the pubis. Maintaining this resistance, raise your sitting bones up the ceiling, and draw your inner legs from the ankles up towards the groins.

THREE

Then with exhaling out, thrust your upper thighs behind and extend your heels downwards or onto the ground. Next, ensure that your knees are not locked as you straighten them.

Harden your outer thighs then roll your upper thighs a little inwards. Narrow your pelvic front.

FOUR

Stiffen your outer arms and push the core of your index fingers vigorously into the ground. Using these two bases, elevate your interior arms from your wrists to your shoulder tops. 

Stiffen the blades of your shoulders against the region of your back, then expand them and push them in the direction of your tailbone. Your head should be between your upper arms; it should not hang.

FIVE

Adho Mukha Svanasana is among the traditional salutation of the sun sequence poses. It is a fantastic yoga asana in its own right as well. 

Maintain this Downward-Facing Dog pose between one to three minutes. Then end it by bending your knees to the ground with an exhale and Child’s Pose for relaxation.

How To Do The Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS

BEGINNERS TIP

If you find opening and releasing your shoulders while doing the Downward-Facing Dog, lift your hands away from the ground by placing it on the seat-rest of a folding chair (preferably metal) or a set of blocks.

MODIFICATIONS & PROPS

To have a sense of the external arms, encircle and fasten a strap round your arms exactly above the elbows.

Picture in your mind that this strap is contracting inward, pushing your outer arms into the bones. Backed up with this resistance, press your internal shoulder blades into an outward position.

DEEPEN THE POSE

To enhance the back of your leg stretch, raise yourself up slightly onto the base of the feet, heaving your heels about half an inch or so up from the ground.

Next, deeply pull your internal groins into your pelvis, vigorously lifting from the internal heels.

Lastly, from the top of your groins, extend your halls down to the ground, moving the external heels quicker than the internal.

PARTNERING

Pairing with a partner can be of help in figuring out how to operate the upper thighs while doing this pose. Start by doing the Adho Mukha Svanasana. 

Let your partner be behind standing and encircle a strap round the front of your groins, nestling it into the furrow between your upper thighs and the front of your pelvis. 

Your partner should tug the strap equal to your spine line (remind your partner to lengthen the arms completely and have your knees bent with your chest raised). 

Let your thigh-bone heads go into your pelvic area deeper and elongate the front of your torso off the strap.

VARIATIONS

As a way to test yourself while doing the Downward-Facing Dog pose, breathe in and lift the right leg equal to your torso line and maintain it for a period of 30 seconds.

Maintain the level of the hips and pushing from the heel. 

Let go and breathe out then do it all over again but this time with your left leg.

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