Adho (=down) Mukha (=face) Shvanasana (Svana= dog)
How to do downward facing dog
From table top position (on your fours): Your hands are placed slightly forward your shoulders, your knees under your hips. Fingers widely spread, middle fingers looking in front and are parallel to each other (or slightly turned outside). Fingers are pushing firmly into the ground. Protect your wrists pressing through the outer edges of the palm and the finger. Pay Attention not to collapse into the wrists.
Rotate your shoulder externally while your elbows rotate in.
Tuck your toes under. On an exhalation press yourself with straight (but not locked) arms back into an inverted V, engaging abdomen, pulling navel back. Keep your spine long and straight. Stay with knees slighty bended to find the comfortability in lengthening your spine. Move your hips back and up towards the ceiling, chest is moving towards the thighs.
Place the soles of your feet on the floor and straighten your legs if possible. Balance your body weight between feet and arms. If you can place your heels on the floor, lift up your toes to stretch the backside of your legs.
Let your neck and head relaxed, hanging freely, or watching towards the knees.
Stay in the pose during 5 breaths.
To come out of the pose: On an exhalation bend your knees and lower them to the ground coming back on your fours or directly into child’s pose.
Special focus on
Arms/Hands/Wrists: Don’t collapse your weight on the wrists, balance the weight on your hands on the outer edges of the palm and the fingers. Don’t lock your elbows. People who tend to hyperextend their elbows, keep in a micro-bend.
Shoulders: Rotate them externally, keep shoulders open and away from the ears.
Legs: In case of hyperextension, keep a micro-bend.
- Strengthens the upper body, arms, shoulders, chest and legs.
- Stretches chest, shoulders.
- Stretches the whole back of the body, ankles, calves, hamstrings, spine.
- Calms the mind.
- Overall energizes the body.
- Stimulates blood circulation.
- Stimulates the brain and nervous system, improving memory, concentration, listening and eyesight.
Recent or chronic injury to the back, hips, arms or shoulders, unmediated high blood pressure.