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Downward-Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog


Adho Mukha Svanasana –

Downward-facing Dog Pose

It is natural for dogs, after a nap, to have a stretch with the rump high in the air and paws outstretched in what looks like to them heaven.  But it takes us humans a while to befriend Adho Mukha svanasana.  There is a lot happening all at once.

If you are seeking a specific goal from this pose it could be to find comfort or even joy in it.  But if you have stiff shoulders or hamstring the pose may be challenging.   On the other hand  if you are flexible, it may be difficult trying to avoid collapsing in the lower back/shoulders.

Down-dog puts you in touch with the inherent push-pull dynamics of yoga asana, where movement in one direction is balanced and enhanced by an action in an opposite direction.  This has deep philosophical and spiritual significance, corresponding to the meaning of hatha yoga as the union of the sun and the moon, the masculine and feminine.  Every pose creates strength and flexibility, extension and stability.

Pose type:

  • part arm balance,
  • part inversion, and
  • part restorative pose.


  • great for recovering after playing sports.
  • stretching the muscles along the spine, back of the thighs, buttocks, wrists, and feet.
  • strengthening the core, front of thighs, chest, shoulders, arms, wrists and upper back.
  • equal parts strength & stretch
  • building better balance and flexibility

Why we love this pose:

  • the power of the pose comes from pelvis, hips and torso, rather than arms and legs.
  • lift rather than push.
  • being compassionate and patient with ourselves.

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