Adho Mukha Svanasana is also called Downward Dog or Down Dog
posture. The name comes from the Sanskrit words, adho which means
downward, mukha which means face, svana which means dog and asana
meaning pose. Adho Mukha Svanasana helps in building power,
flexibility and alertness. This is the first pose which some people
learn as they begin to do yoga. Adho Mukha Svanasana is often
classified as inversion posture since the head is lower than the
Starting The Adho Mukha Svanasana
In this pose, the body forms a triangular pyramidal shape,
resembling a dog stretching after a nap. Doing this posture, you
prepare your body for standing poses. It helps in warming-up the
muscles at the beginning of yoga practice. While executing different
styles of yoga, this posture is repeated. It is many times done
during a yoga class as it provides a transition between poses,
particularly in Surya Namaskar and vinyIasa flow yoga. Make sure
that before starting this asana you should know the exact posture
required for this asana.
How To Perform Adho Mukha Svanasana
Lay down on your stomach. Spread your fingers & place the fingertips
on the floor, lining up with your shoulders. Your middle fingers
should be facing each other. Your feet are hip-width apart. Turn
your toes under. Move into the initial posture, with an exhalation.
In this position, the heels are lifted high while the buttocks are
elevated. The arms and the legs are extended. This posture can be
assumed by keeping the back straight, or by pushing up into the
pose. You can also allow the back to form a curve as you straighten
your arms and then let the buttocks raised.
Make sure while making this pose that the weight should be equally
distributed between the left and right legs as well as the left and
right arms. As you rotate your "sit-bones" in the upward position,
bring the spine forward between your shoulder blades. Your heels
should move towards the floor when you elevate your sit-bones. While
doing this movement stretching from the middle of your back legs
will be stretched & will move in the upward position and also
Purpose of Adho Mukha Svanasana
The aim of this pose is to stretch the spine while keeping your legs
straight and your feet flat on the ground. The most important thing
is to work on lengthening the spine. Don't let your shoulders crawl
up by your ears, try to keep them down. There should be equal
distribution of weight between hands and feet. Remain in the same
pose for a few breaths. Repeat it several times along with inhaling
and exhaling of breath. Make sure that on a deep exhale your hips
are pushed upward and the body should form an inverted V-shape. Legs
& arms must be straight.
Benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana:
Cautions For Adho Mukha Svanasana
- It stretches the shoulders, legs, and spine.
- It builds strength throughout the body.
- It also provides an overall body stretch.
- It helps in relieving fatigue and gives freshness to the body.
- It is helpful in increasing blood flow.
- It helps to strengthen the immune system.
- It calms the mind and lifts the spirits.
- It also improves digestion.
- It strengthens arms, legs, and feet.
- It is a great preparation for standing poses.
- It helps back to be less stiff.
- It lessens stiffness in heels and legs.
- It helps to open up the shoulder blades.
- It stretches the back of the body, especially hips and
- It helps to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
- It may relieve menstrual discomfort, but make sure that in this
head should be supported.
- It is helpful in preventing osteoporosis.
- It relieves some headaches and insomnia.
- It may be useful in chest opening.
- It is recommended for people suffering from high blood pressure,
asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis, etc.
- Don't do this asana, if you are suffering from Carpal tunnel
- It should also be avoided in Diarrhea.
- It should not be done for extended periods during menstruation.
- Do not do this pose in the late Pregnancy.
- If you are suffering from high blood pressure or headache, it is
recommended to support your head on a block.
- In case of sensitive or injured wrist, Adho Mukha Svanasana
should not be tried or if tried it should be modified accordingly.