Pose type: Inversion
The Downward Dog Pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana increases core muscles and improves circulation due to a full-body stretch. This leads to better flexibility throughout the entire body.
This asana may feel challenging if you have stiff shoulders or hamstrings. If you’re flexible, you want to be cautious to avoid collapsing in your lower back and shoulders, engage your core muscles and distribute the weight evenly from the body center to the hands and feet.
When scattering the weight in the hands, make sure to engage the parts of your palms where your thumbs and index fingers are to protect the wrist and not shift the weight to them.
Adho Mukha Svanasana or Parvatasana?
You may come across Parvatasana or Mountain Pose, which will seem the same in the first place.
In Hatha Yoga, the posture is called Mountain Pose or Parvatasana in Sanskrit, which is very similar to the Downward Dog pose.
There is a slight difference between the Mountain Pose and the Downward Dog. The Vinyasa Version is Adho Mukha Svanasana, and you do this posture two feet apart versus the Mountain Pose with your feet together. That being said, when we practice this posture with feet together, it is Parvatasana.
Adho – downward, Mukha – face, Svana – dog, Asana – PostureParvata – Mountain, Asana – Posture
How to get into Adho Mukha Svanasana
There will be many ways to get into the posture. Every teacher guides you differently, also depending on the posture you had been in before.
One of the easiest ways is starting from the All-Fours-Pose.
Your lower legs are evenly on the ground, knees hip-width apart while the hands slightly push you away from the mat. Hands are shoulder-width apart and in one line with your knees; look towards the mat.
Inhale, and tuck your toes into your mat. Exhale and enter the Downward Dog by lifting the hips and engaging the core muscles into a V-Shape, not pushing through the arms.
Firm your outer arms and press the bases of your index fingers actively into the floor. Lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, widen them and draw them toward your tailbone. Keep your head between your upper arms.
Bring your ears in line with your upper arms to align your neck and head along the same line as your spine.
- The feet are parallel to each other.
- Heels reach or just moving towards the ground
- Your legs are straight or micro-bend your knees
- Hips are leveled
- Your buttock is stretched out toward the ceiling
- The spine is straight
- Shoulders blades away from the ears
- Press the bases of your index fingers actively into the floor
- Protect your elbows by pressing your inner upper arms away from each other until your biceps engage
- Downward-Facing Dog Pose tones the arms
- Opens and strengthens the shoulders flexibly
- Lengthens the hamstrings
- Stretches the calves
- Prepares the body for heating
- Strengthens the leg muscles
- Increases the blood flow to the brain
- Relieves stress and anxiety
- Generates the lost energy due to fatigue or when you are exhausted
- Recommended for runners. The hamstring stretch loosens tiredness in the legs and develops speed and lightness in the legs
- Loosens stiffness in the joints
- This asana rejuvenates the brain cells and stimulates the brain