Adho Mukha Svanasana is one of the most popular yoga asanas. It is named so as this posture resembles a dog or a Svana, relaxing and stretching while burrowing its face downwards towards the shoulders. The posture can be practised by both beginners as well as experienced yoga practitioners in the studio as well as at-home online yoga classes.
In this article, we will talk about how to do Adho Mukha Svanasana and its variations. We will also discuss the many adho mukha svanasana benefits that one can reap by practising this asana.
Benefits Of Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana is one of the most well-known yoga poses. There are various adho mukha svanasana benefits that are worth knowing about. Here are a few downward dog benefits that you will reap if you practice the asana regularly.
- Downward dog pose tones your core: Downward dog is a pose that works various muscles of the body simultaneously and engages the core. You can do downward dog asana to strengthen your core, shed fat from your abdomen, and tone your abdominal region.
- Downward dog pose strengthens your bones: Dog pose is a weight-bearing exercise that works on strengthening your bones. The asana gently works on your shoulders. Practising dog pose will strengthen your upper body and will help in preventing or managing osteoporosis. This posture also works great as yoga for joint pain in certain cases.
- Downward facing dog pose works the back of your legs: When in dog pose yoga practice, not just your spine but your hamstrings and calves will also feel the stretch. Working on these muscles at the back of your leg is vital to walk and stand in a healthy manner throughout the day. Dog pose yoga practise will open up the back of your legs and stretch them.
- Downward facing dog pose improves the blood flow to the brain: When your body is in an inverted V position, your head is above your heart. This results in improved blood flow to your head. Practising downward dog yoga regularly will enhance your energy and focus.
- Downward dog yoga pose strengthens the arms: Downward dog yoga pose is a great posture for improving the strength of your upper body, especially the arms. It is vital that while in a downward dog yoga pose you make sure to press your palms against the mat and engage the muscles of the arms. With regular practice, you will notice your arms getting stronger and more toned.
- Downward dog yoga pose improves your body posture: Down dog yoga posture is a great posture for people with a sedentary lifestyle and a slumpy posture. Practising down dog yoga posture regularly will open your shoulders and lengthen your spine easing back and neck pain.
- Downward dog position stretches your back: Downward facing dog is a great posture for stretching your back and helps in easing back pain in a very effective manner. Stretching the spine will result in improved oxygen supply to different parts of the body.
- Downward dog position helps relieve stress and anxiety: As your head is lower than your heart in the downward facing dog, the posture has benefits of inversions and improves blood flow to the head and neck as well as other parts of the body. Downward dog asana helps stretch and release any tension from the neck and the back. The healthy blood flow to the brain in downward dog helps in relieving headaches, mental fogginess, and mild feelings of depression.
How To Do Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to perform Adho Mukha Svanasana for you.
- For the starting position, place a yoga mat and come to all fours. Come down onto your hands and knees, with your hands placed a tiny bit in front of your shoulders. Your knees should be directly under your hips.
- Spread your palms and root down through all four corners of your hands. Curl your toes in.
- Now, as you exhale, slowly lift the knees off the floor and peel your hips up to the sky.
- Initially, you may keep your knees slightly bent and your heels lifted off the floor.
- Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis, lifting the sitting bones towards the ceiling. Draw your inner legs from your inner ankles and through your groin.
- Now, as you exhale, push the top of your thighs back and stretch your heels by trying to reach them towards the floor. You may place your heels on the floor if it is available in your body.
- Straighten your knees without locking them.
- Press the bases of your index fingers actively into the floor, and firm your outer arms. Lift your inner arms from the top of the shoulders to the wrists.
- Firm your shoulder blades against your back first. Then widen them and draw them towards your tailbone to feel the opening in the chest.
- Keep your head between your upper arms with no pressure on the neck.
- Stay in the pose for a few breaths.
- As you exhale, bend your knees and slowly lower them to the ground or the mat.
Variations to Try In Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana is a base pose as many variations can be derived from this pose.
If you are someone who has very tight hamstrings, you may not be able to keep your hips high and straighten your legs at the same time or for a longer time. You can:
- Keep a slight bend in your knees.
- Keep your heels lifted.
- Walk your dog by bending one knee and then the other.
If you are looking to deepen Adho Mukha Svanasana, you can:
- Lift one leg for a three-legged downward dog.
- Stack the lifted leg for a stacked variation.
- Practice one-arm downward dog.
- Practice figure four downward dog.
To do a restorative version of Adho Mukha Svanasana,
- You can place a yoga block under your head.
- You may also place a block under your hands or wrists for added comfort.
- You can practice Uttana Shishosana or puppy pose.
Now that you are aware of how to do this pose and the various downward dog benefits, make sure you include this amazing yoga posture in your yoga practise as well as your stretching routine regularly.
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