Adho Mukha Svanasana  

Listed in: Yoga for Back Pain, Yoga for Stress Management, Yoga for Respiratory System, Yoga for Mental Health, Yoga for Digestive System, Yoga for Beginners, Yoga for Strength, Yoga for Blood Pressure, Yoga for Anahat Chakra

Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward Facing Dog


Adho Mukha Svanasana, Svanasana, Downward Dog, Downward Facing Dog

How to perform Adho Mukha Svanasana

Go into Marjariasana also known as the cat pose. Now move your arms a bit further than your shoulders and spread your fingers wide. Straighten your knees and lift your hips and buttocks up. Place your heels on the floor.
Push your shoulders and ribcage back with your hands. Your face should be close to the floor but not touching it and your head should be in between your arms.
Your coccyx bone is now the highest point of your body and face the ceiling.
The posture looks like a dog stretching his body.

Benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana is a good posture against depression and anxiety. It calms down the mind, relieves from stress and energizes the body as it provides blood flow and oxygen to the mind.
Many people being under pressure feel the stress in their neck. With this pose you can release the tension in the area of neck and shoulders and strengthen your upper back muscles. In this way you can prevent headaches that result from tension in the upper back.
The dog gives a beneficial stretch to your shoulders, hamstrings, calves and hands and makes them more flexible.
If you regularly practice this yoga pose – which you can simply do with a few rounds of Surya Namaskar every day – you strengthen your legs, arms and your back. This can give you relief from existing back pain and prevent it from starting in other parts of your back.
Practicing the downward facing dog prevents osteoporosis problems, is against sciatica and additionally good for your digestive system.
As is changes the blood flow in your body it is good against high blood pressure and thrombosis. By pressing the ribcage it will expand the lungs and strengthen them and your respiratory system which is helpful against asthma. The extra amount of oxygen relieves fatigue.

Focus Points

Focus on your shoulders and on your coccyx bone. Your shoulders should be pressed down and in as much as possible and the coccyx bone the highest point of your body.

When to avoid Adho Mukha Svanasana

Pregnant women should avoid this posture in the last trimester of pregnancy.
If you are suffering from diarrhea or injuries of your wrist and shoulders, do not perform the dog. Headache, too, is a reason for avoiding this pose.


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I love the stretch that this pose gives to my back. In combination with Bhujangasana it is the right thing for me to do after a long day at work - i can feel how my muscle release the tension of a whole day at the desk. It is great to read about the other benefits here, too!

Reply By Karina on October 07, 2011 09:43

I know that you should press down the heels to the floor but until now they are still up high in the air - but I will get there! Thank you for the great description, helped a lot!

Reply By Martin on April 10, 2012 04:50

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