Downward Dog: Adho Mukha Svanasana To Increase Flexibility

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) is the “quintessential yoga pose” that you practice countless times throughout your yoga class. This foundational yoga asana is often practiced as part of a flowing sequence of poses, especially Surya Namaskar.

The asana is commonly used to assist beginning practitioners to become comfortable in the pose but is deceptively challenging and complex. The best-known pose you learn as you begin a yoga practice and you end your class with it.

It acts as a transitional pose and is also commonly used in modern yoga as an exercise that works on your entire body and requires a lot of strength.

Because this pose stretches the hamstring and calf muscles in the backs of the legs, strengthening the arms and legs. Practicing Down Dog can help bring more blood flow to your brain and build better balance and flexibility. Just be sure to practice it carefully and timely.

What’s more, the Downward-Facing Dog Pose pose is a favorite for all yoga yogis because it is included in Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga, and Vinyasa Yoga flows and originates from the Iyengar school of yoga. It helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga.

Adho Mukha Svanasana Meaning

Adho Mukha Svanasana pose is an intermediate level yoga pose. In which the body is moved upwards in a reversed “V” shape position.

It is derived from the Sanskrit words “adha” meaning “under”, “mukha” meaning “face” and svaan meaning “dog”, and asana meaning “posture”. This posture resembles that of a dog when it bends forward. There are many amazing benefits of this asana which make it extremely necessary for you to practice it every day.

Steps To Do Adho Mukha Svanasana

  • First of all, choose a quiet place.
  • Lie down on your stomach, keep your feet close together and bend your toes and rest them on the ground.
  • Now keep both hands down and come in the Marjariasana, rest the toes and palms of both feet on the ground.
  • Spread the fingers of both hands and distribute equal weight on the hands. Keep both hands in a parallel line and come in the position of hand bandha.
  • Bend the knees a little, now take a breath and fold the hands inside, try to bend the head in between both hands.
  • Now try to straighten the hands, straighten the hands as much as possible, and the palms should be away from the torso. Hands should not be near each other but at the right distance, only then the shoulders will open.
  • Keep lifting both knees up and straightening them, try to keep the legs straight while raising the buttocks.
  • Straighten the knees and keep the toes and palms of both feet sticking to the ground. Make an inverted V shape. If the foot rises above the ground, keep the towel folded.
  • Press the hips back and raise both feet parallel and keep them in a straight line. Whether your heels can touch the ground or not is up to your flexibility.
  • Pull the head inward as much as you can and stretch it as much as you can. This will put a strain on the back of your foot.
  • Stay in this position for a while, hold your breath for 10-20 seconds and try to see the toes of your feet in this position. Do not raise the toes of the feet.
  • Leave the head forward in a relaxed position. Keep your gaze looking down.
  • Maintaining the position of the hands and feet, open your shoulders without any pressure.
  • But take care not to stretch the spine too much or bend it from side to side.
  • In the perfect position of the asana, there should be space between the abdomen and the thigh.
  • Now while exhaling back, bring the head above the middle of both hands. Bend the feet from the knees and come to the position of Vajrasana or Sukhasana.

Benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana to Increase Flexibility

Adho Mukha Svanasana tones the muscles of the arms and legs of the hands, opens the shoulders and stretches the shoulders by stretching the shoulder muscles.

Stretching the spine and straightening the legs, new power is transmitted to the feet by feeling the stretch and stretching from the bottom of the head to the ankles of the feet leads to stretching of the whole body.

In Adho Mukha posture, the hips of the body are actually raised and the head is lowered below the heart. Due to this, the force of gravity is applied on the opposite side, due to which fresh blood flows and due to this the blood circulation is better.

Oxygen supply to your brain helps you to increase your memory and sharpen your mind

The effect of downward breathing is not only on the external organs but also on the internal parts of the body. It benefits the internal organs of the stomach and it cures digestion related problems.


While doing every asana, we have to take care of some precautions. If we are not careful, many times we also get to see the opposite effect, so while doing Downward Facing Dog Pose, keep the following things in mind:

  • Before doing this asana, you should warm up a little.
  • While doing the asanas, do not put more than your capacity and unnecessary stress.
  • Do not do asanas if there is pain or injury in the shoulders, hips, arms, waist, and arms.
  • It is not considered appropriate to do this asana in the problem of heart disease and slip discs.
  • Before doing this, make sure that your stomach should be empty.


Adho Mukha Svanasana comes in the eighth sequence in the asana series of Surya Namaskar. Descended from Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, this asana is done in conjunction with Surya Namaskar. In this posture, the whole body has to be stretched like a dog, so that the whole body is stretched, like dogs do.