Adho mukha śvānāsana is the well known yoga pose; Downward-Facing Dog, (sometimes shortened to Downward Dog or Down Dog).
This rejuvenating asana offers an all-over stretch in multiple areas of the body, particularly the hands, shoulders, hamstrings, calves and the arches of the feet.
The benefits of this pose are many and include;
- body energiser
- strengthens and tones arms and legs
- helps prevent osteoporosis
- helps menopausal symptoms
- improves digestion
- headache relief
- helps alleviate back pain
- counters sciatica
- regulates sleep, fights insomnia
- fatigue fighter
- asthma relief
- therapeutic for flat fleet
- relieves sinusitis
Starting on the hands and knees, with knees directly below hips, toes turned under and hands positioned slightly forward of shoulders. Palms should be spread with index fingers parallel (or turned slightly outward). Breathe naturally.
On an exhale breath, lift knees from floor, (keep knees slightly bent and heels off floor to start with). Breathe naturally.
On an exhale breath, push your thighs backwards and stretch heels down to the floor. Straighten but don’t lock the knees.
Pushing from the bases of the index fingers, lift thorough to shoulder blades and widen them then draw towards tailbone. Keep the head aligned between upper arms, don’t let it hang and don’t stretch upwards.
Stay in this pose for between 1 and 3 minutes, listening to your body for when to release. Bend your knees to the floor to release the pose and rest in Child’s Pose
Cautions; don’t try this pose if you suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or if you are experiencing diarrhoea. This pose is unsuitable when in late term pregnancy. If you suffer high blood pressure or have a headache, try supporting your head on a bolster or block, ears level between the arms.
Sun Salutation: Downward-Facing Dog can also be performed as part of the traditional Sun Salutation sequence.