Downward Facing Dog Pose: Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Elongates and releases tension from your spine
- Stretches your hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
- Strengthens your arms, shoulders, and back
- Improves mobility of your digestive system
- Relieves back pain, headaches, insomnia and fatique
- Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
- Downward-Facing Dog is a mild inversion that calms the nervous system and helps relieve stress
- Wrist problems like carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis
- High blood pressure
- Eye or inner ear infection
- Avoid this pose in late-term pregnancy
Adho Mukha Svanasana (AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna)
adho = downward
mukha = face
svana = dog
- Come onto your hands and knees with your plams just forward of the shoulders.
- Spread your fingers with your index finger forward, knees unders your hips and toes tucked.
- Inhale and lift your knees away from the floor as sit-bones reach towards the ceailing.
- At first, keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor.
- Exhale and elongate up through your tailbone moving the abdomen towards the heels.
- Your heels lower and your legs lengthen without strain to the hamstrings or a pull on the pelvis.
- Roll your upper thighs inward slightly and roll the heels outward slightly.
- Maintain light pressure on the bases of your index fingers.
- Widen the shoulder blades and feel them move towards your tailbone.
- Keep a long neck with your head comfortable in line with the arms.
- Your elbow and knee joints should not be locked.
- Emphasize length in the spine as you keep even weight on the hands and feet. For beginners, a slight softness can be kept in the knees, and the heels do not have to touch the floor.
- Hold for several breaths, then exit to a new pose or come down to rest in child's pose or thunderbolt pose.
- Ease pressure on your wrists by placing a wedge under your palms or performing the pose on your elbows.
- Elevate hands on blocks or on the seat of a chair to release and open your shoulders.