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Adho Mukha Svanasana - downward facing dog

Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana – downward facing dog is one of the key poses in vinyasa flow (and ashtanga) classes. It’s a pose that easy connects one asana with the next. It can be hard on your wrists in the beginning, so you might want to come down on your forearms. It’s a nice opening for your hamstrings and calf muscles and the one legged version can give you a good opening of your iliopsoas muscle; a deep back muscle that often gives low back pain.

You can find a power yoga flow with a lot of downward facing dogs in this video.

Getting into Adho Mukha Svanasana – downward facing dog

  • Start in Tadasana– mountain posture
  • Inhale your arms up, lengthening your spine
  • Exhale and bend forward from the hips
  • Inhale into a flat spine (parallel to the floor)
  • Exhale place your hands on the floor (bend your knees if needed), step back into a plank pose
  • Inhale raise your hips and move them backwards, sinking your heels to the floor. You are in a kind of triangle shape now with your hands and feet shoulder and hip width apart and your pelvis as the top of the triangle.
  • Sink your head in between your arms to the floor, lengthening your back more and more.
  • Stretch your legs as much as possible and comfortable for your hamstrings. In the final pose your heels are on the floor.
  • Stay in this pose for a minute.
  • Sink your knees to the floor, bring your bottom on your heals and rest your head on the floor in child pose for a few breaths before you come out.

Benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana – downward facing dog

  • Removes fatigue and energizes you (especially good for long distance runners after a long race)
  • Alleviates pain and stiffness in heels
  • Strengthens ankles
  • Realigns legs
  • Alleviates stiffness in the shoulderblades and inflammations in shoulders
  • Strengthens abdominal muscles
  • Lowers heartbeat
  • Rejuvenates and stimulates the brain
  • Boosts joyfulness
Source: Iyengar – Light on Yoga / Key muscles of Yoga – Ray Long / 
Ashtanga – David Swenson / Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha – Swami Satyananda Saraswati
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