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Downward Facing Dog | Adho Mukha Svanasana

Downward Facing Dog | Adho Mukha Svanasana

ADHO || downward  MUKHA || face  SVAN || dog

Primary Purpose of Downward Facing Dog || Decompression of the spine accessed through the hamstrings. Explore bending your knees and sending the hips even higher – serving the primary purpose of the pose more fully.

Benefits of Downward Facing Dog


  • legs (quadriceps)
  • back (latissimus doris)
  • shoulders (deltoids)
  • arms (triceps)


  • feet
  • ankles
  • legs (gastrocnemius, hamstrings)
  • buttocks (gluteus maximus)
  • back (latissimus doris)


  • insomnia
  • menstrual and menopausal discomfort
  • low back pain
  • sciatica
  • sinusitis
  • stress and mild anxiety


  • the body and mind
  • improves focus


  • circulation of blood and lymph

Proceed With Care

  • if you have weak or stiff back muscles, hamstrings, sciatica or knee problems: keep knees bent and spine straight
  • if you have carpal tunnel syndrome: press into the base of the finger

Avoid Posture 

  • if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • inflammation, injury or disease of the eyes or ears
  • recent or chronic ankle, knee, leg, hip, back, shoulder, arm or wrist injury, inflammation or pain

Common Misalignments To Look Out For

  • shoulders close to the ears
  • wrists underneath shoulders


  • pressing into your fingertips
  • shifting the weight from your wrists into finger pads
  • sending shoulders down your back away from your ears
  • igniting your abdomen muscles
  • bending into the knees
  • spreading your sit bones wide
  • a micro bend in the elbows to prevent hyper extension

Practice With Me!

Downward Facing Dog explained! Such a staple in yoga classes. Come along as I chat about the primary purpose of the pose, demonstrate different variations of the pose and discuss the common misalignments I see in my classes. I also offer two poses you can do instead of Downward Facing Dog especially if Downward Facing Dog is not a “resting” pose for you! Play, try something new and have fun learning what the fuss is all about.

How did it go? If you have one, which variation was your favorite? Did you notice something you do that prevents you from benefiting from the primary purpose of this pose? Do share with me!



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