HomeSite MapContact
Sex, Body & Health
Your Mind & Feelings
My Story
Healthy Eating
Natural Health
Keep Fit
Look It Up
Video & Games
Email Article  Print Article  Rate This Article 

Downward-Facing Dog (<i>Adho Muka Svanasana</i>)

Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Muka Svanasana)

How do I do the pose?
What are the benefits of doing Downward-Facing Dog pose?
Any precautions?
Terms from the video explained
Click here to watch the video

How do I do the pose?
Kneel on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Inhale and lift your hips up until you're standing on your toes and your body forms an upside-down "V". Keep your hands firmly planted on the floor and your legs straight. Exhale. With your weight evenly balanced, ease your heels into the floor, feeling the stretch in your calves. If you can't put your heels all the way down, don't worry—your heels will get closer to the floor as you get more flexible. Only flex as far as it is comfortable for you and stay up on your toes if you need to. While you hold this pose, imagine a string pulling your buttocks and hips toward the ceiling. Continue regular, slow breathing in and out for at least 60 seconds. Return to a kneeling position. back to top

What are the benefits of doing Downward-Facing Dog pose?
Downward-Facing Dog is one of the most important postures for developing muscular strength. When you hold this upside-down V posture, draw in your lower belly, and focus on the breath, you strengthen and tone the muscles in your arms (especially those hard to get triceps), back, abdominals, and legs. back to top

Any precautions?
Keep your feet parallel and about ten to twelve inches apart, lined up with your hip bones. Your hands should be about the same distance apart, lined up with your shoulders. Look back towards your knees or bellybutton and relax your neck! Your goal is to press your heels towards the floor, but most people need to practice this pose often to get there (especially if you wear high-heels!). back to top

Terms from the video explained
  • Table Position: The instructor teaches you to do Downward-Facing Dog by starting (and ending) in Table position. This is a yoga pose of its own. You position your body on your hands and knees, keeping your back flat. From Table position, you can also move into relaxing yoga postures like Cat pose and Child's pose. back to top
Last Modified Date: 1/5/2001