Adho Mukha Svanasana : Downward Facing Dog Pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana is also called Downward Dog or Down Dog posture. The name comes from the Sanskrit words, adho which means downward, mukha which means face, svana which means dog and asana meaning pose. Adho Mukha Svanasana helps in building power, flexibility and alertness. This is the first pose which some people learn as they begin to do yoga. Adho Mukha Svanasana is often classified as inversion posture since the head is lower than the pelvis.

Adho Mukha Svanasana : Downward Facing Dog Pose - Detailed Description


Steps:
  1. Keep your legs shoulder width apart.
  2. Slowly, bend down, until your palms touch the floor ahead of you.
  3. Exhale while bending.
  4. Do not lift your heels off the floor.
  5. Don't bend your knees, but at the same time, don't lock them.
  6. Spread your fingers wide apart.
  7. Now, push your head between your arms, towards your knees. Feel the stretch in your legs.
You could also do this the other way around by first getting down on your knees, and then slowly lifting yourself up. Exhale while lifting yourself up. This is, in fact, the right way of performing this asana, but you may find it difficult to place your heels on the floor initially.
A good rule of thumb to remember is to exhale when performing any stretch that scrunches the stomach muscles, and inhale when returning to position, or when performing a stretch that expands the stomach muscles. Thus, when bending down, or bending sideways, exhale. But while bending backwards, inhale.
Benefits:
  • This pose leaves you energized and rejuvenates the body
  • It lengthens the spine, strengthens the muscles of the chest increasing lung capacity.
  • It brings strength throughout the body especially the arms, shoulders, legs, feet. Helps to tone muscles
  • It increases circulation to the brain
  • Calms the mind and helps relive headache, insomnia and fatigue.
Tips and Help:
  • Avoid doing this asana if you suffer from high blood pressure, Carpel tunnel syndrome, detached eye retina, weak eye capillaries, dislocated shoulder / shoulder injury or diarrhea.
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