adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog pose) is a foundational yoga posture that you’ll likely practice countless times throughout your yoga lifetime. just be sure to practice it with care and attention: if you have stiff shoulders or hamstrings, the pose may feel challenging. “as you find the alignment of this pose, see if you can find alertness and relaxation in the rest of your life,” says natasha rizopoulos, a senior teacher and teacher trainer with down under school of yoga. on the yoga mat, however, we can learn to inhabit them simultaneously.” why we love it: “i’ve had two mind-blowing revelations while practicing this pose. the first was when the teacher ever-so-gently put her thumb and forefinger between my shoulder blades and opened them.
i realized that the power of the pose came from her pelvis, hips, and torso, rather than her arms and legs: she entered the pose by lifting her hips, not pushing through the arms. it makes a world of difference in how i approach my dog.” become a member today to access yoga journal’s comprehensive pose library, which blends expert insights from top teachers with video instruction, anatomy know-how, variations, and more for 50+ poses, including downward-facing dog. downward-facing dog pose tones the arms and legs, opens and strengthens the shoulders in flexion, lengthens the hamstrings, stretches the calves, and prepares the body for heating. to stretch the backs of your legs more, lift slightly up onto the balls of your feet, pulling your heels a half-inch or so away from the floor. this can also help if your back is rounded in the position, and/or you have low back pain.
benefit clears stiffness in your shoulders; lengthens and straightens your legs; helps to create arches in your feet and strengthen your ankles. come onto your hands and knees, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. your knees should be behind your sitting bones to maximize length in your torso and spine when you move into down dog. 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. lift your sitting bones to tilt the top of your pelvis forward and maintain the natural curves of your spine. 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.
maintain mula bandha and breathe freely through your nose. stay safe if your hamstrings are stiff and you try to get your heels to reach the floor, your downward-facing dog will be bunched up, with too little distance between your hands and feet. this can round and put pressure on your lower back. also, be vigilant about the distance between your hands: if they are wider than your shoulders, this can cause neck and shoulder tension. teacher eddie modestini is co-founder and co-director of maya yoga studio on maui, hawaii. he has a degree in exercise physiology and has taught advanced bodywork techniques. teacher and model nicki doane is the other co-founder and co-director of maya yoga studio. join outside+ to get yoga journal magazine, access to exclusive sequences and other members-only content, and more than 8,000 healthy recipes.
downward dog pose or downward-facing dog pose, also called adho mukha shvanasana, is an inversion asana, often practised as part of a flowing sequence of poses, especially surya namaskar, the salute to the sun. the asana is commonly used in modern yoga as exercise. one of yoga’s most widely recognized poses, adho mukha svanasana strengthens the core and improves circulation, while providing a delicious, full-body stretch. extend your arms fully and keep your lower ribs moving toward your spine to avoid low-back overarching and compression. descend your heels even downward facing dog, or in sanskrit, “adho mukha svanasana,” is one of the most common asanas in yoga. for beginning yoga students,, adho mukha svanasana benefits, adho mukha svanasana benefits, eka pada adho mukha svanasana, adho mukha svanasana pronunciation, adho mukha svanasana modifications.
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