Downward Dog

Updated: Sep 18


The Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana) is one of the most famous yoga poses in the world. Instantly recognized and nicknamed the “Quintessential Yoga Pose”, it has featured in many popular movies and television shows.

It is often practiced as a part of a sequence of poses and has a variety of different forms and combinations, designed to appeal to both beginners and experts.


Step-by-step Guide

1. First, come down onto the floor and get onto your hands and knees.

2. Move your knees so that they sit underneath your hips, and align your wrists so that they are directly below your shoulders.

3. Spread your fingers out so that the index fingers are parallel to each other, and make sure that your weight is spread out evenly across your body.

4. Tuck your toes underneath your feet, engage your core and exhale slowly as you lift your knees off the floor.

5. Point your pelvis towards the sky, straighten your legs, and notice as you begin to form an A shape with your body. Naturally, your gaze should fall onto the area of the ground directly under your hips.

7. Press your hands into firmly into the ground and widen your shoulder blades, slowly drawing them in towards the tailbone. Exhale, bring your heels towards the floor and send your inner thighs back.

8. Hold for a minute or two and slowly lower yourself back on to your knees.

Benefits of the Downward Dog

With Downward Dog being such a popular technique, it is no wonder that so many physical benefits are associated with it. These range from a whole host of different things, such as:

• Improvements in digestive health

• Strengthening of arms and legs

• Headache relief

• Stretching of multiple muscles; including calves, hamstrings, and shoulders

• Elongation of the spine

• Improves awareness of breathing

Precautions

The Downward Dog is a safe technique that is suitable for almost anyone just starting out. People of all ages regularly practice it without experiencing any negative effects. That being said, like most exercises there are a few precautions to take into mind:

• Attempt this exercise slowly if you are suffering from any muscle stiffness, knee troubles, or back issues.

• Do not attempt this technique if you are suffering/recovering from severe injuries.

• Do not attempt this technique if you have carpal tunnel syndrome.

• Avoid practicing this pose if you are in the late stages of pregnancy

Summary

A simple yet rewarding pose, the Downward Dog can be a great way to introduce new people to the world of yoga. As it is gentle on the body, it can be practiced by almost anyone, of varying ages and lifestyles.

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