Downward-facing Dog, also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana, is one of the world’s most recognizable yoga poses — those who have never practiced yoga are even likely to identify it. It is a standing pose that is used to transition to and from other yoga poses, and can also serve as a point of rest during a yoga session. Downward Dog came to be named after the position that dogs often exhibit when they are getting up or stretching.
Downward-facing Dog is widely acclaimed for good reason — the pose serves many beneficial purposes for the body and mind. Not only does this yoga position allow yogis to stretch out shoulders, spine, hamstrings, and calves, but also relieves back pain, promotes blood circulation, and warms the body up for more complex poses. Many have reported that the pose also provides relief from menstrual cramps, headaches, and anxiety; the boost in blood circulation to your head and face can even result in a visible glow!
Downward-Facing Dog Instructions
- Begin on your hands and knees (also known as table position), and adjust accordingly so that your knees are stacked under your hips and your hands are stacked under your shoulders.
- Spread your palms and tuck your toes, and begin shifting your weight onto your palms. Following an exhale, lift your knees off the mat. Work on lifting your hip bones toward the ceiling. Keep your knees at a slight bend as your body adjusts into the position.
- If and when you find yourself settling into the pose, you may begin to straighten your legs out, though this is not a requirement. You should begin to feel a nice stretch in your hamstring muscles. Continue to distribute your weight between your palms and heels. At this point, your body and mat should have formed the shape of a triangle, with your yoga mat posing as the base of the triangle.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, or for up to 5 minutes if you are enjoying the stretch. Don’t forget to breathe!
- Once you are ready to release the pose, slowly bend your knees and return to your mat, where you can enter a resting Child’s Pose.
At MixPose, we use artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to detect yoga poses, and when we detect downward facing dog, it gives the teachers direct feedback to let them know where most of the students are. Feel free to download our Android application on Google Play!
Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a recent beginner, Downward Dog is a level-friendly pose for all. I invite you to try it out and brace yourself for the soothing stretch and extensive relief!