Keys to Downward Facing Dog Pose in Yoga: One of the best-known postures and the most used in Yoga sessions in the different styles is the downward-facing dog or adho mukha svanasana. This yoga posture or asana receives this name because it simulates the position that dogs adopt when stretching. It is a transition and rest posture.
Keys to Downward Facing Dog Pose in Yoga
We can make the dog upside down as a stand isolated itself, although the most common is to use it as a transition between other asanas, such as the Salute to the sun. We explain everything you need to know about this asana to perform it correctly.
The Benefits of Downward Facing Dog Yoga
The downward-facing dog is a posture where we stretch the entire posterior chain of our body, emphasizing the back, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.
This posture also helps us to strengthen the muscles of the back, neck, shoulders, and abdomen, which must be kept activated to be able to maintain this position for a more or less extended period (about five deep breaths if we execute it as a posture in itself; less time if we use it as a transition posture).
It also helps to improve our blood circulation and is very useful in relieving menstrual pain.
How Downward Facing Dog Is Run
To perform the downward facing dog posture, we can enter it in two different ways: either from the mountain posture (from a standing position) or lying face down.
- If we start from a standing position: with our feet hip-width apart, we take a deep breath and raise our arms towards the ceiling. When releasing the air, we flex our hips until we reach the ground with our hands. We take a step back to reach the inverted V position, bringing the hips towards the ceiling (we direct the sitting bones up).
- If we start from a lying position on our stomach: we flex our arms and place our hands on both sides of the body, a little in front of our shoulders. Feet are hip-width apart, toes flat on the mat. We put our knees on the floor to get on all fours, with our knees directly under our hips, and, from there, we raise our hips towards the ceiling, stretching our arms and legs.
Balasana or child’s pose, to be performed after downward facing dog
To get out of the posture, we put our knees back on the floor, and we relax our back. The good idea is to perform the child’s pose or balasana before and after the downward facing dog: a resting posture that allows us to relax the back muscles.
Tips for Your Downward-facing Dog to Be Perfect
- Spread the fingers of your hands and press the floor firmly: this will help you have excellent support to perform the asana and raise your hips towards the ceiling. Both hands and feet should push the ground down.
- The heels can be flat on the ground or not: depending on your degree of flexibility. Trying to bring the heels to the ground will help us stretch the entire lower back chain well: to do this, remember to push with the thighs back.
- Make sure you stretch your entire back well: it is usual to stretch your legs fully but leave your back arched, especially in the lower back. Concentrate on bringing your sitting bones toward the ceiling and pressing your hands firmly toward the floor.
- Contraindications: this position is not recommended for people with carpal tunnel syndrome (since a good part of the body’s weight rests on the wrists) and not for women in the last months of pregnancy. If we suffer from hypertension, we can rest our head on a pillow or a Yoga block when doing downward facing dog.
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