Adhomukha Svanasana: Steps, Benefits

Adhomukha Svanasana Downward Facing Dog


Adhomukha Svanasana is one of the most familiar modern Yoga Position. Though medieval yoga texts did not mention this yoga position, it appears that it has been in practice traditionally. This is because of the fact that it has been a part of the sequence of poses that constitute the traditional yoga exercise called Surya Namaskar.

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Pose NameAdhomukha Svanasana
English NameDownward Facing Dog Pose
GroupSurya Namaskar
TypeForward Bending

Adhomukha Svanasana Meaning

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

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

Downward Facing Dog Procedure

Adhomukha Svanasana Precautions

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

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

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

Adhomukha Svanasana Preparatory Poses

Downward Dog is simple yoga pose that require 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 and raise your hands up 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, duration may be up to three to five minutes. But as a sequence of poses like Surya Namaskar, thirty seconds is enough.

Adhomukha Svanasana Follow Up Poses

Since this being 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 suitable counter pose.

Advanced Pose Considerations

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

Adho Mukha Svanasana Benefits

The following are the 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 Nervous System. Hence it is good for stress related conditions.
  2. It helps to reduce the belly fat and aids in weight management.
  3. Adhomukha Svanasana is the most beneficial asana for blood pressure.
  4. 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 Fcing Dog Pose takes off the stress and workload of the veins.
  7. It increases the blood flow to head. Hence it is good for the functions of 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 of head stand and at the same time it is less riskier than that.