Adho mukha shvanasana, or downward facing dog, is a yoga pose that is often used in sun salutations. It is a great pose for stretching and strengthening the body. Adho mukha shvanasana is repeated so often in your yoga practice that it holds the foundation keys for good forward bending and good alignment in your shoulders for all arm balances.
Before we look at how to do downward facing dog, let’s look at the benefits of downward dog.
Benefits of Adho Mukha Shvanasana
Downward dog is a great pose for stretching the hamstrings, calves, and Achilles tendon. It also helps to strengthen the arms and shoulders.
This pose can help to relieve back pain by lengthening the spine. Additionally, downward dog is a good pose for improving digestion and relieving stress.
Contraindications for Downward Dog
If you have any injuries in your shoulders, wrists, or arms, be careful with this pose. You might want to avoid this pose when you have a headache. A
How to Do Adho Mukha Shvanasana
To come into downward dog, start from all fours. Tuck your toes and lift your hips up to the sky. Keep your feet hip-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart.
Press into your hands and lengthen your spine. Draw your navel towards your spine to help with this.
Press into your hands and feet to gently lift your hips up and back. You want about a 45-degree angle at your hips.
Roll your shoulders down your back.
Root down through your feet with your heels reaching to the mat.
Your back is straight and your navel is drawn in.
Try to evenly distribute your weight between your hands and feet.
Let your head relax downward.
Look at your navel or the top of your thighs.
Your arms should be engaged. Your shoulder girdle is firm but open.
Stay here for five even breaths.
To come out of the pose, lower your hips back down to all fours and release your feet.
There you have it! A simple guide on how to do downward facing dog. Be sure to listen to your body and only go as far as you feel comfortable. Watch the video with Kino for a more detailed description of the pose.