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Yoga Central - Downward Facing Dog Pose
Posted Date: 2009-11-13
Resource Box Info:
This article has been supplied by alternative therapies directory. You can also find more information on our Yoga page.

This is the latest article in our yoga central series and today we will be looking at a pose known as Downward Facing Dog Pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana. We will look at how to properly carry out the pose, the benefits you can get from it and anything that you need to consider before beginning. Please read the entire article before trying the pose.

How to Carry Out the Pose

We have put together instructions on how to carry out the pose correctly however there are also a number of modifications that can be done to make the pose easier as well as deeper. These modifications will be found lower in the article.

1. Begin the pose on your hands and knees. Place your hips directly over your knees and put your hands a few inches forward of your shoulders. Make sure you ground the pose through your hands pressing the balls of the thumb and index finger into the floor.

2. Now turn your toes under and as you exhale gently lift the knees of the ground however make sure you leave your legs slightly bent. You should now be on your hands and the balls of your feet. Gently lift your sit bones towards the ceiling and press your pelvis lightly towards your pubic bone.

3. Now exhale and lower the heels of your feet towards the floor. Do not be aggressive with this and only lower then as much as is comfortable. Straighten your legs but make sure not to lock the knees.

4. Push back with your arms firming your hands into the floor. Firm your shoulder blades against the back and widen them and draw them back towards the tailbone. Keep your neck long and ensure your head remains between your arms, don’t let it hang.

5. Hold the pose for 1 to 3 minutes and remember to breathe as this will make the pose less strenuous. On completion come back to hands and knees and then rest in child pose.

Tips and Precautions

There are certain times when you should not carry out this pose including if you have carpel tunnel syndrome or diarrhoea. In addition you should not carry it out if you are heavily pregnant. If you suffer from headaches or high blood pressure then you should support the head on a block.

If you are new to this pose and have difficulty opening the shoulders you can lift your hands on blocks or on a folded chair. If are experienced and would like a challenge you can lift your right leg and extend it behind you level with the torso. Remember to press down through the heel of the left leg. Hold for around 30 seconds and then repeat with the other leg.

Benefits and Focus

There are a large number of benefits to this pose but the main anatomical focus of the pose is the upper back and shoulders. In addition it can help to strengthen both the arms and legs. In terms of conditions there are many that could be helped by downward facing dog pose. For example it calms the mind and so can help with stress and mild depression. It also helps to energise the body and so can be useful for people suffering from fatigue. It can also help with symptoms of the menopause, menstrual cramps, improve digestion and prevent osteoporosis. Conditions it can help to relieve include headaches, insomnia and back pain. In addition it can be therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica and sinusitis.