For centuries, people have turned to yoga and pranayama for both mental and physical benefits. Even today, you can find millions of people trying various yoga poses to be in good health. There is even an International Yoga Day to celebrate this holistic method of wellness.
With a diverse range of poses, yoga can tackle various health issues while improving your overall well-being. One such yoga that is touted as the most beneficial pose is Adho Mukha Svanasana. You may have seen it in online yoga videos or classes.
The best thing about Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog yoga is that it is suited both for beginners and experts. And while it may seem quite easy to perform Adho Mukha Svanasana pose at the first, you may find it quite complex when you try to practice it. If you have never performed Adho Mukha Svanasana yoga or are planning to learn how to do Adho Mukha Svanasana, this guide is for you.
We have tried to gather all the essential things you need to know about this pose. From Adho Mukha Svanasana meaning to Adho Mukha Svanasana benefits, there are sections for all. Let us begin:
What is Adho Mukha Svanasana?
Adho Mukha Svanasana or Adomuka Svanasana is a foundational yoga pose that focuses on the whole body. It requires flexibility and upper body strength. In this asana, your body forms an inverted “V” with the feet and hands pressing into the ground and the hips raised upwards.
The name Adho Mukha Svanasana comes from Sanskrit where Adho means “down”, mukha means “face”, and “svana” means “dog”, and finally “asana” means “pose”. Together Adho Mukha Svanasana meaning in English is Downward Facing Dog pose.
This pose is a crucial part of the famous Surya Namaskara (sun salutation) series. It also serves as a transitional resting pose and is often one of the first poses you learn in yoga for beginners.
How To Do Adho Mukha Svanasana
Here is a step-by-step guide to performing Downward Facing Dog yoga at home:
- Adho means down, you have to start the pose by coming on all fours like a table pose. Your knees should be under your hips and your palms should be aligned with your shoulders. Now, slowly move your hands about one palm length forward.
- Also, curl your toes and press the pads at the base of your finger.
- Exhale and press down through your hands and try to lift your hips to come into Adho Mukha Svanasana pose.
- You can bend the knees at the start and then keep lengthening the spine. You can do so by pressing back from your hands and lengthening from the shoulders and armpits.
- After you find the spine length, try to straighten your legs.
- Take deep breaths and press your belly and chest towards your thighs. Try to engage the muscles and lengthen the back body.
- Now, you have to bring your hands and feet isometrically towards each other while making sure that your palms and the pads of your feet stay on the floor.
- To release the Downward Facing Dog pose, just exhale and bend the knees while returning to the table pose.
Performing Adho Mukha Svanasana yoga may look simple in the beginning but as you start the Adho Mukha Svanasana steps, you will realize it requires a lot of flexibility and strength. Thus, if you are a beginner, be patient if you cannot achieve on the first try. Keep practising the Adho Mukha Svanasana steps on a regular basis and you can gradually ace it. To learn more techniques and tips, it is best to seek guidance from a yoga expert.
Adho Mukha Svanasana Benefits
This simple yoga pose is one of the best poses one can try. The reason? There is no dearth of downward facing dog benefits. Some of them are as follows:
- A Full-Body Stretch: From your legs and spine to shoulder and back, Adho Mukha Svanasana stretches the whole body and takes away any stiffness or pain you may be suffering from.
- Tones Your Core Muscles: Since the pose requires you to engage your core muscles throughout the asana, it can tone the lower abdominal region. In fact, many people try it as Adho Mukha Svanasana benefits your core by shedding extra fat from the belly.
- Strengthens Your Bones: Adho Mukha Svanasana is a weight-bearing exercise and that’s why it also helps in getting stronger bones. It is also believed that it can prevent or manage conditions like osteoporosis.
- Improves Blood Circulation to The Brain: Since your body is in an inverted “V” position during Adho Mukha Svanasana pose, you can experience good blood flow to the head. This, in turn, improves your focus and concentration. Try it regularly, and yoga can also alleviate any tension in the neck.
- Improves Body Posture: This is one of the best Adho Mukha Svanasana benefits. The pose stretches the body and opens up your spine and shoulder; thereby, improving your posture.
- Boosts Mental Health: While performing the Adho Mukha Svanasana, you tend to focus on your breathing and how your body feels at the moment, this can relax your mind and bring peace. People have also experienced lower anxiety and stress levels by performing such yoga poses.
Precautions for Downward Dog Pose
No doubt there are plenty of Downward Facing Dog benefits, but if you do not follow the precautions, the yoga can lead to harm. Here are some things to keep in mind while doing Adho Mukha Svanasana:
- If you have weak back muscles, sciatica, tight hamstrings, or knee issues, try to perform the pose gently. It should be done with knees bent and back straight.
- Avoid this pose if you have any shoulder injuries.
- Always do a warmup before starting the pose as it will prep the body.
Yoga is incomplete without Adho Mukha Svanasana. So if you have planned to start yoga in the near future, make sure you include this pose in your list. To learn how to do it perfectly, you can also refer to online videos or seek guidance from yoga experts.
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