Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

If practicing yoga is one of your aims then you must get familiarized to the Downward facing dog pose. It is one of the most basic, popular and all pervasive yoga poses. It is also known as Down Dog in English and Adho Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit. The Sanskrit name has been derived from Sanskrit language where adho means “down”, mukha means “face”, svan means “dog”, asana means “posture.” It is a handstand, rejuvenator, forward bend, strengthening and transitional pose. Some of the benefits of this pose are:

  • It eradicates back pain and stiffness: It is considered very useful in relaxing the upper back and shoulders. Rehearsing it in an appropriate alignment can make your back more elastic and relieve you of stress and tension.
  • It boosts circulation: It helps to augment blood throughout the body since the heart is above the head while practicing the pose. An effective circulation system in turn helps to flush out toxins from the body and keep the immune system healthy.
  • It builds bone density: The posture places weight on the shoulders and arms and this is considered excellent for building upper body strength and conserving bone density. It is also considered very beneficial for women since with age, their body becomes more prone to developing a risk of osteoporosis.
  • Emotional level: It helps to boost self confidence and also relieves the heart off pressure since it allows the blood to flow to the brain.
  • Other benefits: It helps to strengthen and lengthen the spine.

The overall difficulty of the pose for beginners is fine and a good foundation and set up can get them on the right track. For pregnant moms, the pose is safe and excellent since a lot of them complain about back pain during pregnancy and this pose is considered very beneficial for stretching and rejuvenating their bodies. Advanced yoga practitioners are more flexible and active and therefore it is suggested that they practice and hold this pose for five minutes everyday.

Here are the steps to perform the pose:

  1. Spread your knees and hands with the wrists under the shoulders.
  2. Coil the toes under and push back uplifting the hips and stretching and straightening the legs, until your body makes an inverted “v.”
  3. Spread the fingers and press your chest towards your knees.
  4. Exhale pulling your heels toward the floor and placing your inner thighs back.
  5. Outwardly twirl the upper arms, expanding the collarbones and widen your shoulder blades against your back.
  6. Place your head between your upper arms and do not let it hang.
  7. Stay in this position for 2 minutes.
  8. Now end it while exhaling and bending your knees to the floor.

OK, it’s time to strike the downward facing dog pose and reap all of its health benefits!


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