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Adho Mukha Svanasana
(Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

How to perform Downward-Facing Dog Pose

Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.

What is Adho Mukha Svanasana?

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) is one of the foundational poses that you learn as a beginner and continue to practice throughout your Iyengar yoga journey. It serves many different purposes — opening up the shoulders, extending the spine and hamstrings, and releasing tension in the back, to name just a few — and can come at the beginning, middle, or end of a sequence.

When to use Adho Mukha Svanasana?

Adho Mukha Svanasana has therapeutic applications for the shoulders and lower back. It also teaches us about the importance of the foundation of the feet and legs and how to extend the arms from the base of the ribcage in order to properly integrate the limbs into the trunk. This knowledge understanding can then be applied to every pose, making Adho Mukha Svanasana one of the most crucial poses in one’s yoga practice.

Video sequences that include this pose