Adho Mukha Svanasana also called Downward Dog or Downward-Facing Dog is a popular Hatha Yoga posture.
Downward Dog begins by kneeling with the hands and knees on the floor, hands under the shoulders, fingers spread wide, knees under the hips, knees about seven inches apart, spine straight and relaxed.
Exhale and push the hips up toward the ceiling so that the body forming an inverted V-shape. Keep the arms straight, elbows engaged, shoulders wide and relaxed. Push the heels down toward the floor and stretch the tailbone away from the back. The hands and feet remain hip-width apart. If the hamstrings are very strong or tight, the knees should be bent to allow the spine to lengthen fully.
Avoid pressure on the wrists by pressing into the fingers and palms, directing the push upward into the hips. Drop the head naturally. The hips move up and back.
While holding the posture inhale and exhale steadily to create a flow of energy through the body. Concentrate on maintaining a slow and rhythmic breath.
Hold the posture for about 30 seconds. To come out, exhale and release onto the hands and knees and rest in the child pose.
Some of the benefits of the Downward Dog pose include:
- Stretches the shoulders, legs, and spine.
- Builds strength throughout the body.
- Provides an overall body stretch.
- Removes fatigue and rejuvenates the body.
- Increases blood flow to the sinuses.
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Calms the mind and lifts the spirits.
- Improves digestion.
- Strengthens arms, legs, and feet.
This posture is not recommended when the wrists are sensitive or injured. Modifications are advised in that instance.
Marcia has been practising yoga for over 20 years and has specialised in the Hatha and Ashtanga schools of yoga, although has also enjoyed learning other branches such as Iyengar. As well as yoga she practices meditation, and plays a wide range of sports, including badminton, cricket, cycling, and walking.