Adho Mukha Svanasana known as अधोमुखश्वानासन also known as Downward-Facing Dog Pose, is a mild inversion that calms the nervous system and helps relieve stress. During each exercise, make sure to maintain a focus on your breathing as it hones your attention, focusing your mind on the constant change as you breathe in and out. You should sense how the pose affects your breath.
Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog pose is one of the best yoga poses for beginners as it is a ‘forward bend asana’ that strengthens the arms and legs and stretches the muscles of the shoulder and the hamstrings and calves. Adho Mukha Svanasana helps to get rid of stiffness in the shoulders and lengthens the spine and straightens the legs; this is why it is one of the most commonly recommended yoga postures for beginners.
Adho Mukha Svanasana is a great pose for centering the mind and neutralizing the effects of other asanas on the body. Long practice of this pose will build strength for inversions. This asana calms the brain because the head is brought down towards the earth. Our mind is normally moving forward or backward and this asana has the ability to bring the mind to the present moment.
How to do Adho Mukha Svanasana (अधोमुखश्वानासन)
- Come onto the floor on your hands and knees.
- Set your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly ahead of your shoulders.
- Spread your palms with your index fingers parallel or slightly turned out, and turn your toes inwards.
- Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first keep your knees slightly bent and your heels lifted away from the floor.
- Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis.
- Against this resistance, lift your sitting bones toward the ceiling.
- Then with an exhalation, push your top thighs back and stretch your heels down toward the floor.
- Straighten your knees but be sure not to lock them. Firm your outer thighs and roll the upper thighs inward slightly and narrow the front of your pelvis.
- Firm your outer arms and press the bases of your index fingers actively into the floor.
- From these two points, lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders.
- Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them towards your tailbone. Keep your head between your upper arms and don’t let it hang down loosely.
Adho mukha svanasana benefits (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
- Adho Mukha Svanasana leaves you feeling energized and rejuvenated.
- It calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression.
- It lengthens the spine and strengthens the muscles of the chest thereby increasing lung capacity.
- This pose strengthens the arms, legs, shoulders and feet.
- Because of the weight bearing nature of the posture on the arms and legs, it helps strengthen the bones and prevent osteoporosis.
- It helps relieve the symptoms of menopause.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana relieves headache, insomnia, back pain and fatigue.
- This pose can be used as a therapeutic aid for high blood pressure, asthma, sciatica, flat feet and sinusitis.
Contraindications and Precautions of Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
Avoid practicing this asana if you suffer from
- High blood pressure
- A detached retina
- A dislocated shoulder
- Weak eye capillaries