Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

English Name(s)

Adho Mukha Svanasana, Downward Facing Dog Pose

Sanskrit

अधोमुखश्वानासन / Adho Mukha Śvānāsana

Pronunciation

AH-doh MOO-kahshvah-NAHS-anna

Meaning

adhas: “down”
mukha: “facing”
svana: “dog”
āsana: “posture”

Physical Benefits

Adho Mukha Svanasana (AH-doh MOO-kahshvah-NAHS-anna) is a rejuvenating pose after a strenuous yoga practice, especially standing poses and back extensions. Healthy blood is brought to the head, nourishing the brain. This pose stretches and strengthens the feet, legs and arms, and opens shoulders. It relieves pain in the heels and helps with calcaneal spurs, while strengthening the abdominal organs. It is a great pose to prepare beginner students for Headstand.

Energetic Benefits

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.

Contraindications

Those with any wrist injury or pain should avoid this pose. Use the rope wall to relieve weight from the wrist. Those with high blood pressure should not hold this pose for more than 30 seconds.

Going into the Pose

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Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

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