Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward Facing Dog is one of the most popular and widely recognised yoga poses.
It is a great yoga posture; it will increase vitality and help eliminate fatigue. It will also help to balance the body by strengthening all of the muscles in the upper body. Usually our legs are quite strong through standing and walking, so this posture helps to balance the top half of the body with the lower half of the body.
Downward Facing Dog will release tension in the backs of the legs and the lower back and help to lengthen the spine. When you perform this posture, draw your navel back towards the spine to work the core muscles. Focus on your alignment and work to keep both sides of the body equal in length to keep your pelvis and lower back balanced.
Downward Facing Dog assists with alignment and slowly builds the required strength for more challenging asanas.
How to perform Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
(AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna)
adho = downward
mukha = face
svana = dog
Begin on your hands and knees. Curl your toes under, move your hips back and allow your knees to leave the floor. Exhale as you slowly unfold your legs to create a triangular shape with your body. Push down into the floor with your hands and direct your armpits towards the floor. Lift the lower abdominal muscles as you work to feel that both sides of the body are equal in length and that your hips are square. Hold this posture for ten slow breath cycles or for as long as you feel comfortable whilst focussing on your alignment.
This posture is not suitable for people with high or low blood pressure, or those with a hiatus hernia. Always seek medical advice before commencing any new physical activity.
This posture is featured in many of the Yoga 2 Hear classes.