The downward facing dog pose, more technically known as Adho Mukha Svanasana, is one of the most classic poses used in yoga classes. It consists of one of the most common exercises within this discipline and represents the link between various asana. It receives this name because when it is carried out it simulates a dog in a full stretching position, with special emphasis on the front legs.
This technique is one of the most common, especially for beginners in the discipline of yoga. It allows you to achieve true relaxation and a wide sensation of well-being, while favorably developing the flexibility of the muscles of the arms, back and legs. Next, we are going to learn everything related to this famous technique and how to execute it in a correct way to get the most out of all its benefits.
Origin and meaning of the name: Adho Mukha Svanasana
Although hearing it in passing, this name should not mean much to us, it is convenient to know the concept of the asana that we are going to use. This will allow us to mentally connect with the technique and better understand how the pose is performed.
To understand its meaning, it is necessary to break down the concept in Sanskrit language, in each of the three parts of which it is composed. Adho means “downward”, while Mukha refers to “face or face”. Lastly, Svana means “dog”. If we group all the words together, we finally get their definition in Spanish: “Dog face down”, although it can also be translated as “dog face down”.
4 tips for performing downward dog pose
The first thing we should do is move down on the mat. We place the hands next to the chest and rest the palms towards the ground. We have to separate the feet and align them with the hips. Next, we drop the weight on the hands and feet, separating the fingers. In this way we will be able to distribute the pressure of the body correctly through all the muscles.
The next step is to bring your buttocks closer to your heels and raise your hips and heels until you design a triangular shape with your body with respect to the ground. Once in this position, it is important to maintain it while bringing the breasts to the thigh, in order to fully stretch. Thus, the back bones will remain as open as possible and the head down, relaxed.
Once dominated this classic yoga asana, there are certain nuances that can polish to perfect the technique and reap greater benefits of flexibility and relaxation.
1. Spread your fingers apart and press the floor firmly
In this way, a better support point is obtained to perform the posture. Hands and feet should push the floor down and the hips should be facing the ceiling.
2. To support or not to support the heels on the ground
If you have a good degree of flexibility, you can push your thighs back to bring your heels to the ground and thus fully stretch the entire lower back chain.
3. Stretch the whole back well
You may be able to fully stretch your legs, but your back is still curved, especially in your lower back. For this reason, you should try to bring your sitting bones toward the ceiling and press your hands firmly against the floor.
4. Precautions to take into account
Downward facing dog is not recommended for people with carpal tunnel syndrome, as a large part of the body’s weight is allocated to resting on the wrists. This yoga asana is not recommended for those women in their last months of pregnancy, nor for people suffering from hypertension, especially in the head.