all the benefits of the most popular yoga position

Downward facing dog, in Sanskrit adho mukha svanasana, is one of the best-known asanas in yoga practice. Let’s find out how to do it correctly and, above all, what the benefits of this position are

If you practice yoga you will have already heard and repeated the asana known as downward facing dogor more simply downward facing dog.

The Sanskrit name is adho mukha svanasana:

  • adho = downwards
  • mukha = face
  • svana = cane
  • asana = pose

This pose has a unique combination of forward extension with concave back action. It loads the entire body, and its shape resembles that of a triangle. The energy of the pose moves from the base (in this case, the hands and feet), through the body, to the top (the buttocks).

Read also: Namaste: do you know the true meaning of the greeting used in yoga?

Downward facing dog: benefits

This asana has several benefits. Among the most important we highlight:

  • It calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • energizes the whole body
  • Stretch your shoulders, hamstrings, calves and hands
  • strengthens your arms and legs
  • helps relieve menopause symptoms
  • relieves menstrual discomfort (if done with the head supported)
  • helps prevent osteoporosis
  • improves digestion
  • relieves insomnia, back pain and fatigue
  • it is therapeutic for hypertension, asthma, flat feet, sciatica and sinusitis

If you suffer from hypertension or you have frequent headaches, we recommend adding a pillow to support your head, this will reduce muscle strain, relaxing your brain and slowing your heart rate.

During pregnancy, especially if it is advanced, practice this asana with the help of a chair or other support for both your hands and your head.

Among the other benefits of adho face svanasana we point out:

  • adds more symmetry
  • allows you to work on balance
  • also activates the fingers
  • lengthens the spine
  • releases your neck and creates space in the shoulder area
  • strengthens the wrists
  • It stretches tendons and ligaments, making joints more flexible

Additionally, this posture (like all yoga positions) offers the practitioner the opportunity to explore, discover and deepen awareness in the body and breath.

Read also: Moon Salutation: the whole sequence and benefits that you don’t expect to perform it every evening

Downward facing dog: how to do it perfectly

Focus on correct body alignment from the beginning it helps you have greater awareness throughout your practice. To perform Downward Facing Dog pose, here’s how:

  • Start in a quadruped position, aligning your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips
  • from here, pivoting on the tips of your feet, lift your knees off the ground while your hands remain firmly on the floor
  • at this point you should assume the position of a triangle
  • remember that your legs must be well extended, while your heels must rest on the ground. If you can’t extend your legs, keep them bent and your heels slightly raised
  • stay in this position, with your hands on the floor pushing on the mat
  • the head is relaxed towards the floor, continue to hold the position while breathing deeply
  • To come out of the position, release your knees and elbows, and slowly return to the standing position
  • if you wish you can relax in savasana that is, the position of the corpse, in which the body is lying on the ground in a supine position completely abandoned and without any movement.

Downward facing dog: the most common mistakes

The downward facing dog position seems simple, but there are very common mistakes that are made especially if you are a beginner.

First of all, remember to place your hands firmly on the floor, not only your palms but also your fingers must push on the mat; your back must also remain straight, to do this push your navel towards your spine and activate your core.

As for your arms, they must be well extended as well as your legs, and try to place your heels on the ground; if you can’t you can lift them slightly. Another very common mistake is keeping your neck contracted. Instead, try to relax your head and keep your gaze downwards.

A seemingly banal position which, if performed correctly, offers many advantages to both the body and the spirit and for this reason it is among the most popular and loved by yoga teachers. After all, the dog is man’s best friend!

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