Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose): steps, cautions and benefits.


Adho Mukha Svanasana or commonly known as Parvatasana (mountain pose), is a forward bending asana named Downward Dog Pose in English because it resembles the shape of a dog stretching its body. It is practiced at the 5th and 8th position in Suryanamaskar. This asana is a boon to a growing body as it stretches the muscles and ligament to help the bones achieve maximum growth.

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Steps to do Adho mukha svanasana

Starting Position: Stand upright with erect spine, feet together, big toes and heels slightly touching each other. Hands to the side of the body. The weight of the body should neither be on the heels nor on the toes but distributed evenly on both of them. Relax and take deep breaths.

  • Stand on the knees, keep hip-width distance between your knees, incline forward placing the hands on the floor right under the shoulders. Thighs and arms perpendicular to the floor, hands placed in line with the knees, shoulders aligned to the wrists.
  • Press the hands into the ground.  Curl the toes, exhale and gently lift the hips taking the knees away from the floor, face downward. Keep the knees and elbows bent for a while. Take 3 breaths.
  • Straighten both the elbow and knees, heels touching the floor, ears touching the inner arms. Look at the navel. You will feel an intense stretch in the back muscles of your legs. This is the final position. Remain in this position for as long as you feel comfortable. Take deep breaths.
  • To come back lift the head, bend the knees and gently sit on the floor/mat. Take slow and long breaths.

Repeat this asana 3 times gradually increasing the length of time in following practices.

Cautions to keep in mind

  • Ensure you practice this asana in the correct alignment as one could easily misalign in this asana.
  • Do not strain while lifting the hips and torso. Don’t put too much weight on the hands, keep it evenly distributed on the hands and feet.
  • People suffering from any of this condition should avoid practicing this asana: carpal tunnel syndrome, weak or injured shoulder or heel, any kind of inflammation of eyes and ears. Can be practiced gently by people suffering from high blood pressure.
  • People suffering from chronic inflammation of any joint of the body must first get recover properly before they start practicing.

Benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana strengthens core, nerves, muscles of the arms, legs, ankles and back; expands the chest. Increase height of a growing body. Tones the muscles of the abdomen, arms, shoulder, back, thighs and calves.
  • Improves blood circulation between shoulder blades and spine. Strengthens the lungs hence beneficial for the respiratory system, improves digestion, energize and relax the body, removes fatigue calms the mind.
  • Practicing this asana removes stiffness in the shoulders.

Stay healthy stay strong and get the best out of life.

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