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Adhomukha Svanasana Downward Facing Dog


Adho Mukha Svanasana, commonly known as Downward-Facing Dog Pose, is a fundamental yoga posture that combines strength, flexibility, and mindfulness. In this pose, practitioners form an inverted V-shape, with hands and feet grounded and hips lifted towards the ceiling. The yoga pose engages various muscle groups, promoting a full-body stretch while enhancing core strength and balance. It is renowned for its therapeutic benefits, relieving tension in the shoulders, hamstrings, and lower back, and improving circulation. This pose also encourages mental focus and relaxation, making it a key component in many yoga sequences. Regular practice of this pose not only fosters physical well-being but also cultivates a sense of calm and rejuvenation in the mind.

Though medieval yoga texts did not mention this yoga position, it appears that it has been in practice traditionally. This is because it has been a part of the sequence of poses that constitute the traditional yoga exercise Surya Namaskar.

Let us delve a little deeper into its meaning, steps, and benefits.

Adhomukha Svanasana Meaning

It is also spelled as Adho Mukha Svanasana. It combines four Sanskrit words: Adho, Mukha, Svan, and Asana. Adho = downward. Mukha = facing. Svan = a dog. Asana = Yoga position.

We often find dogs stretching their front legs similar to this posture. Hence this name. In English, we call this pose Downward Facing Dog or simply Downward Dog.

Adhomukha Svanasana Information

Pose NameAdhomukha Svanasana
English NameDownward Facing Dog Pose
Difficulty LevelBasic
TypeForward Bending
Downward Facing Dog Pose Information

Downward Facing Dog Procedure

Adhomukha Svanasana Precautions

Since this is the forward-bending yoga pose, pregnant ladies should avoid this practice.

Persons with health conditions like Prolapsed Disc, Sacralization of Lumbar Vertebrae, and hernia should consult their doctor before taking this practice.

Moreover, those who are having a stroke risk factor should not attempt this pose.

Downward Facing Dog Preparatory Poses

Downward Dog is a simple yoga pose that requires any specific preparatory pose. It means one can directly attempt the practice.

Adho Mukha Svanasana Steps

Step 1

Stand with legs apart and keep ten or twelve inches wide at the feet level.

Step 2

Inhale, raise your hands and keep shoulder width in between. Exhaling bend the back and touch the floor with palms facing down. Now your body makes an inverted V shape, head placed in between the upper arms. While doing this, ensure that your soles and heels of the feet touch the floor.

Step 3

Breathe normally and keep the position as long as it is comfortable.

Step 4

To release the position, down your back and lie on the floor in Advanasana (Reverse Corpse Pose).


As a stand-alone yoga posture, the duration may be up to three to five minutes. But thirty seconds is enough for a sequence of poses like Surya Namaskar.

Adhomukha Svanasana Follow Up Poses

Since this is a forwarding bending pose, any backward bending pose like Bujangasana or Chakrasana should be taken for subsequent practice. Bhujangasana is the most suitable pose. In Surya Namaskar, it does not require any follow-up pose, because it already contains a suitable counterpoise.

Advanced Pose Considerations

After mastering Downward Dog, one may take Padahastasana to intensify the yoga practice to the next level.

Adho Mukha Svanasana Benefits

The following are some of the benefits of Adhomukha Svanasana.

  1. Regular practice of Downward Dog Pose keeps your spine flexible and healthy. Furthermore, it improves the functions of the Nervous System. Hence it is good for stress-related conditions.
  2. It helps to reduce belly fat and aids in weight management.
  3. Moreover, it is the most beneficial asana for blood pressure.
  4. Also, this pose helps in the treatment of Asthma-related conditions.
  5. It boosts the functions of the internal organs of the stomach. Furthermore, it aids in health conditions like indigestion and constipation.
  6. Downward Facing Dog Pose takes off the stress and workload of the veins.
  7. It increases the blood flow to the head. Hence it is good for the functions of the brain, eyes, and other organs of the head. Also, it is said that this pose is good for hair growth and prevents hair fall.
  8. Moreover, it provides the same benefits as headstand and at the same time, it is less risky than that.

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