Adho Mukho Svanasana

Adho Mukho Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Even if you know nothing about yoga, chances are you can name this popular pose – the question is, have you tried it yet?

Adho Mukho Svanasana is one of the most popular yoga postures because it’s meant to rejuvenate your body and leave you feeling energized. It’s also considered a great pose for an all-over stretch and is often revisited more than once in a single yoga class.

What Is Adho Muhko Svanasana?

Adho Mukho Svanasana, better known as Downward Facing Dog Pose or Downward Dog, is a popular yoga posture. In modern yoga, it is often part of sequence of flowing poses, and it is especially common in the Salute to the Sun.

A Brief History Of A Well-Known Pose

Downward Facing Dog Pose has been a foundational posture in hatha yoga for centuries. Practitioners turned to if often after other poses to stretch and realign the spine, and it is popular in modern yoga for the same reasons. It can be considered a “home base” in yoga practice.

Understanding More About Downward Facing Dog Pose

Downward Facing Dog Pose is largely a calming, stretching exercise, though it also offers other fitness elements such as strength, balance and flexibility. It is often used as a transition pose from one posture to another. Neither aerobic nor anaerobic, this pose is a gentle workout suitable for beginners.

Preparing To Practice Adho Mukho Svanasana

Before beginning your yoga practice, prepare your body by drinking plenty of water.

You’ll want to buy or borrow a yoga mat, too.

Step By Step Instructions For Proper Form

  1. Start on your yoga mat, positioned on your hands and knees. Keep your wrists under your shoulders and your knees aligned with the hips.
  2. Feel your elbows stretch and relax your back muscles.
  3. Exhale, then lift the knees up from the floor. Focus on reaching your pelvis upward to the sky, then pull your hips backwards to the wall behind your body.
  4. Straighten the legs slowly and gently, ensuring no lock in the knees. Your body should look like the shape of the letter “A”.
  5. Press your hands into the floor as if pushing it away from you. Lengthen your spine and lift your hips toward the sky.
  6. Slowly rotate each arm until the inside of your elbows face your thumbs.
  7. Position your head so that your ears are in alignment with your upper arms. Allow your head to relax, but don’t let it hang. Focus your eyes between your legs or toward your belly button.
  8. If you are able, hold this pose for at least five breaths.

Health Benefits

In addition to a rejuvenating, full-body stretch, Downward Facing Dog Pose offers five fantastic benefits:

  1. Strengthened arm and shoulder muscles
  2. Toned core muscles
  3. Lengthened calf and hamstring muscles
  4. Increased blood flow in the brain
  5. A healthy stretch for the spine

Downward Dog Variations

For an extra challenge, assume Downward Dog then raise one leg as high as possible.

If you’re new to yoga, this pose is a great starting point. If you’re an advanced practitioner, use it to restore and rest your body during challenging yoga flows.

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