What is Adho Mukha Syanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose? How to perform and what are the Benefits?

Read Here What is Adho Mukha Syanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose. How to do it and What are the Benefits of Downward Facing Dog Pose or Adho Mukha Syanasana?

What is Adho Mukha Syanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose?

Downward Facing Dog, or in Sanskrit, “Adho Mukha Syanasana,” is one of the most common Asanas in yoga. For beginning yoga students, proper form for Downward Dog Pose can be challenging initially, but over time, as one’s practice advances, it often turns into a favorite ‘relaxation’ pose between other, more strenuous postures.

And for good reason. Downward Facing Dog offers a variety of benefits for the body, in fact, its benefits comprise multiple physiological systems.

 

How to Perform Adho Mukha Syanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose?
Step 1

Come onto your hands and knees, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Press the inner triads of both hands firmly into the mat. Turn the eyes of your elbows toward each other and align your shoulders over your wrists. Your knees should be behind your sitting bones to maximize length in your torso and spine when you move into Down Dog.

Step 2

For a few breaths, arch and round your spine, simultaneously moving your head and tail like you did in Cat-Cow Pose.

Step 3

From a Cat tilt, curl your toes under. On an exhalation, slowly lift your knees off the floor, bringing them in line with your ankles. Keep your knees bent and stretch your arms intensely to lengthen your torso. Press the mat away from you and open your upper, or armpit, chest. Lift your sitting bones to tilt the top of your pelvis forward and maintain the natural curves of your spine. If your hamstrings are stiff, this is a good place to stay—remaining here opens the shoulders and wakes up the spine without putting pressure on your lower back.

Step 4

If you are moving deeper into the pose, slowly straighten both legs and walk your feet forward a little. Your sitting bones should be close to centered between your wrists and ankles. Make sure your lower back doesn’t round and that you can still maintain the lift of your sitting bones and the curves of your spine. Extend your arms fully and keep your lower ribs moving toward your spine to avoid low-back overarching and compression. Descend your heels even more as you engage your quadriceps. Maintain Mula Bandha and breathe freely through your nose. Stay for 20–25 breaths before coming down to rest in Balasana (Child’s Pose).

 

Benefits of Adho Mukha Syanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose?
  • Downward Facing Dog pose increases circulation of both blood and lymph systems, nourishing and revitalizing cells throughout the whole body while clearing out old waste products.
  • Adho Mukha Syanasana also expands the chest and strengthens the lungs for better respiratory function.
  • Anyone who has experienced sciatic pain will notice how Downward Dog elongates all the muscles that run along the backs of the legs, releasing the tightness that often leads to pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Yoga students looking to build strength will develop tone throughout the length of their body though this pose: Downward Facing Dog gently builds muscles in the shoulders, arms, and abdominal region, as well as along the back and down the thighs and calves.
  • What else does it stretch? Adho Mukha Syanasana stretches and decongests the spinal column, a vital function that promotes the free flow of energy and nerve information between the body and brain.
  • In some cases, Downward Facing Dog can provide relief from headaches.