Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) Benefits & Steps

Downward Facing Dog

What is Adho Mukha Svanasana?

In Sanskrit, Adho means ‘downward’, Mukha means ‘face’, and Svanasana means ‘dog’. If you think about it, the asana exactly resembles the way dogs stretch naturally to relax themselves.

This is one of the traditional poses and quite recognized in the west as well. It is a foundation for many more complex yoga poses. For those of you who practice Surya Namaskar, you must be familiar with the pose.

Benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana:

The downward-facing dog has proven benefits for both mind and body. It is great for building arm and leg strength.

Some of the major benefits observed from practicing the asana include:

  • It is helpful in strengthening your legs, thighs, and arms
  • It is known to be therapeutic for stress and depression issues
  • It helps in digestion improvement
  • It is very useful in overcoming insomnia, back pain, headache, and even fatigue
  • It is one of the most beneficial stretching exercises which stretches your calves, hamstring, arches, shoulders, and hands.
  • Being an effective stretching exercise, it also helps in relieving cramps and soreness
  • It is helpful in healing flat feet, sinus and blood pressure problems
  • It helps in keeping your bones strong and thus preventing osteoporosis at later stages
  • With your head facing downwards, it helps in increasing blood flow to your head and increases the flow of oxygen and other essential nutrients essential for good health
  • The pose is known to energize your body and calm your mind
  • Some people have also observed a reduction in anxiety after practicing the asana regularly

Who can practice this asana?

This yoga posture is suitable for people of all ages.

Things to take care of:

Pregnant women should refrain from practicing this asana post 3 months of pregnancy. Also, this pose is not advisable for people who have carpal tunnel syndrome.

If you are suffering from pain in your knees or elbows or other joints, avoid the asana till the pain has gone away.

Stepwise Guide: How to do Adho Mukha Svanasana

Before you start, stand straight and stretch your arms to the top. Bend and touch your feet with your hands and keep your knees straight. This will help you open up your body and hold the pose for a longer time.

Step 1:Place the yoga mat of the floor and come onto your hands and knees in a relaxed position. Your wrists must be aligned with your shoulders in a straight line.

Step 2:Take a deep breath and bring your arms forward and feet further backwards making a V shape, keeping your arms, legs, and back straight. Make sure your knees are not bent.

Step 3: Hold the pose for at least 10-15 seconds. Close your eyes and try to concentrate on your breath. Feel the stretch on your calves and hold still.

Step 4: Now slowly exhale, release by gently coming back to the starting position on your hands and knees.

Although this is a relatively easier pose to practice you must make sure that you maintain a correct posture to experience maximum benefits. This is one of the most relaxing poses and that is why people often use it to cool down between rigorous exercises to prevent leg cramps.

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