‘Adho’ means ‘downward’ ’, ‘Mukha’ means ‘Face’, and ‘Svana’ means ‘Dog’.
This asana imitates and earns its name from the posture of a dog stretching after a good nap. If we observe dogs we will see that they do this stretch several times in a day – they instinctively keep their limbs wonderfully stretched and agile. Adho Mukha Svanasana or The Downward Facing Dog pose is suitable for everyone from beginners to adept yogis, and is one of the most widely recognized yoga postures. However, as simple as it seems, this pose can be broken down, dissected and comprehended in a very thorough manner. This beautiful posture works on every part of the body.
Adho Mukha Svanasana builds muscular and bone strength, increases flexibility, relieves backache, strengthens the lungs, and cures headaches. Adho Mukha Svanasana is categorized as a half inversion since the top half of the body is inverted.
The Downward dog prepares a person for standing poses as well as in warming-up the muscles at the start of yoga practice. The Downward Facing Dog pose is continuously repeated while performing different styles and sequences of yoga. It provides a transition between poses, for instance during the Surya Namaskaar sequence and different Vinyasa flows
As with any workout, the Downward Facing Dog pose can be stressful without a proper warm-up. So, get your body a little limbered up, with a few simple stretches before following the steps below.
Here is a list of things that you should be cautious of when doing the Downward Facing Dog.
Avoid doing the Downward Facing Dog pose if you are a patient of high blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, if you have a detached eye retina, weak eye capillaries, dislocated shoulder /shoulder injury or diarrhea. Additionally do not do this pose during the later stages of pregnancy.
We might hit some roadblocks when we initially try perfecting the Downward Facing Dog pose. Hence, here are some modifications that can help you overcome these hurdles.
Many who do the Downward Facing Dog Pose during a sequence, use it as a moment of rest between difficult Yoga exercises, or as a transition between postures in a Vinyasa flow. Whenever doing it, we must remain focused, both physically and mentally. Continue to work the technique further to get the maximum benefits from this dynamic stretch.
You can also read “Downward Facing Dog: Exploration, Anatomy, and Alignment” to learn more about the muscles and body parts which are involved and affected by this pose.