Downward Facing Dog
Adho Mukha Svanasana
ah-dho moo-khah SHVAHN-NAH-sah-nah
Strengthens arms and legs
Improves digestion, brings fresh blood to brain
How to perform downward facing dog
- Lie on your stomach. Bring your hands under your shoulders and spread your fingers wide. Bring your feet as wide as your hips and curl your toes under.
- Push into the floor and come onto your knees with an exhale, then slowly straighten your legs. Release your heels toward the floor. Reach your tailbone toward the sky behind you to lengthen your spine. Bring your head in between your arms.
- Hold the pose and take slow, deep breaths.
- Release your knees to the floor with an exhale and sit back on your heels.
- Bring feet hip-width apart
- Bring hands shoulder-width apart
- Spread fingers and push thumbs and index fingers into floor
- Draw shoulders away from ears
- Align ears between arms
- Reach tailbone up and back
- Release heels toward floor
Avoid this pose if you have high blood pressure or carpal tunnel syndrome.
More yoga poses to discover
Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit) is a beginner yoga pose that belongs to the forward bends and inversions categories. This asana targets calves and hamstrings and middle back / lats and spine and also involves abs and ankles and glutes & hip flexors and quadriceps and triceps and wrists muscles. Downward facing dog stretches and strengthens legs, opens chest; rejuvenates abdominal organs and also reduces fatigue, increases energy. Refer to the illustration and instructions above for how to perform this posture correctly. Discover more yoga asanas and yogic breathing exercises in our free yoga pose directory.
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