Adho Mukha Svanasana – Poses, Benefits & How To Do It.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) is named as such because in this yoga the body resembles that of a Doggish (Svana) relaxing and spreading while at the same time burrowing its face (Mukha) downwards (Adho) towards the shoulders.

It originates from the Iyengar School of Yoga and is widely practiced as transitions pose for Sun Salutation, included in Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga, and Vinyasa Yoga flows. This posture in general is done by all yoga instructors as it gives a full-body stretch and strengthens the core muscles. In this Yoga, the shoulders, hamstrings, and hips are kept active and open.

History of Adho Mukha Svanasana

In Sanskrit, Adho indicates "Down", Mukha indicates "Face", Svana indicates" Dog" and Asana means" Pose". Here, the body resembles that of a Dog (Svana), relaxing and extending while at the same time burrowing its face (Mukha) downwards and (Adho) towards its shoulders.

Its multi-purpose nature makes it incredible for starting, momentary, resting, and stimulating posture. This posture helps in stretching, toning, and expanding the whole spinal section. The sensory system in your body is energized and decongested by this posture.

It is mostly performed toward the start and end of a yoga schedule. This posture could seem to be challenging at the beginning, however when you start practicing it every day the more poised and relaxed you get.

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Top 10 Benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana

1. The downward dog posture helps in strengthening your core muscles. While practicing the Adho Mukha Svanasana, the core muscles are repeatedly worked out, and the lower muscles get stronger gradually. Accordingly, the lower abs get conditioned and toned leading to loss of stored fats from the lower belly. Besides that, you may likewise lose some weight by practicing the Adho Mukha Svanasana regularly.

2. It promotes the blood flow to your brain. Since, in this asana, your heart is set over your head, there is more blood streaming to the brain. This adds to further developing your energy levels and focus power. By doing the Adho Mukha Svanasana daily, you will feel more empowered and better. It rejuvenates the brain cells and stimulates the mind.

3. This asana also strengthens your arms and legs. While performing, more strain and pressure is put across your arms and chest area. This boosts your arms and makes them stronger along with strengthening the chest areas.

4. Improves your body’s posture. Since these days we are usually working from home setup, we tend to live a deskbound lifestyle. By practicing this asana, we allow our back, neck, and shoulders to stretch completely, which in the long run results in superior body performance.

5. Strengthen your calf muscles. Working with the lower leg muscles is usually ignored by many people; however, this posture assists you with energizing your lower leg muscles and hamstrings.

6. It can strengthen your bones. Since this asana is a flexion workout, this posture might assist with staying away from osteoporosis.

7. It twists your back accurately. This can reduce back and neck torment. Stretching your spine gives sufficient oxygen to different parts of your body.

8. Improves your body equilibrium and to a large extent creates flexibility all through your body.

9. If you have pain in the heels due to continuous stretch or maybe injury, this asana helps cure the pain.

10. Lastly, it can cause you to feel revitalized, solid, and blissful.

Kinds of Adho Mukha Svanasana

By now you should have some understanding of how to perform the Adho Mukha Svanasana, you can go further to know the variations of this posture. These variations are more advanced than the basic variations, so it is recommended to initially master the basics of Adho Mukha Svanasana before you master any of its variations.

Here is a closer look at the top three variations of the Adho Mukha Svanasana. All the variations begin from the original downward-facing dog pose.

Three-legged Downward-facing Dog Pose

In this pose, you want to take one of your legs off the floor, so you are balanced on both your palms and one leg. This basically leaves your one leg and two arms connected with the ground, providing this variation with the name of the ‘three-legged’ downward-facing Dog Pose.

Standing split Pose

In the standing split pose, you lift one of your legs off the floor and take it upward until it is almost vertically aligned with the foot that is still resting on the ground. Bring your palms closer to your body, till you are comfortable performing a kind of vertical split.

Revolved Downward-facing Dog Pose

In this variation, you need to get into the Adho Mukha Svanasana first. Then, take your right palm off the ground and hold your left ankle with it. Spin your chest outward till your upper body revolves slightly. Hold this pose for a while and repeat it on the other side.

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How to Perform this Yoga Asana

  • Come on your hands and knees, with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips
  • Lift your hips and straighten your legs by curling your toes under and pushing back through your hands
  • Ground down from the forearms to the fingertips by spreading your fingers
  • Rotate your upper arms outwards to expand the collarbones
  • Allow your head to hang and your shoulder blades to move away from your ears and toward your hips
  • Engage your quads to remove the weight of your body off your arms. This motion contributes significantly to making this a resting stance
  • Rotate your thighs inward, lowering your heels to the floor
  • Make sure you have formed a plank position, and the distance between the hands and feet should be the same
  • To get the heels on the floor in Down Dog, do not step the feet toward the hands
  • Exhale and bend your knees to release, then return to your hands and knees

In yoga, the focus should not be only on mastering the pose. No pose gives its full benefits if breathing is ignored. In Adho Mukha Svanasana, you inhale while going into the pose and exhale completely once in the pose. Rhythmic breathing is practiced in this pose.

With deep inhalation taking your mind to the lower spine, feel the expansion of the spine and lower back. As you exhale, feel the contraction of the spine and reach the floor with your head, thus working on the shoulders and elbows. With every exhalation try harder to reach for the floor with your head.

Beginner’s Tips For Adho Mukha Svanasana

  • To protect your wrists, make sure the first finger’s knuckle is firmly pressed down
  • Return your weight to your hips
  • If you are hypermobile, keep a micro-bend in your arms to avoid locking your elbows
  • Check if your shoulders are hunched up; if so, nod and shake your head to keep the base of your neck relaxed

Adho Mukha Svanasana Safety Measures

You should avoid doing this pose if you have a wrist injury or carpal tunnel syndrome. Pregnant women in their last trimester should also avoid doing this pose. People should also avoid if they have high blood pressure, heart illness, vertigo, or a slipped disc in their spine.

Conclusion: The Adho Mukha Svanasana is an easy and beneficial yoga pose that has many benefits. Staying active with yoga and eating a balanced diet can help you stay healthy over the long term.

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