How to master Adho Mukha Svanasana
Adho Mukha Svanasana, in Sanskrit, is most commonly referred to as the “downward facing dog position”, which is its literal translation, since the pose reminds a dog stretching. The pose is not only one of the most famous yoga poses, as one of the most practiced in the different sequences of distinct yoga schools.
This pose allows to work the basic movements for a healthy body and the essential stretch for a better day, besides being accessible to all levels of yoga and highly adapted!
Find out the steps for Adho Mukha Svanasana and the major benefits of this pose.
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Adho Mukha Svanasana: the steps to build your pose
Different schools adopt subtle variations of Adho Mukha Svanasana, according to the purpose and the tradition they associated with. It means you can encounter teachers that will suggest some changes to what we know will describe. As long as the pose is performed respecting your body and safety, either our suggestions or others, are correct.
Adho Mukha Svanasana indications:
- We push the floor with the hands while we transfer the weight of the body to the legs and feet, which remain hip-width apart;
- The arms stay stretched, without overloading the elbows joints with all the weight;
- We keep the shoulders open while spinning the arms externally and the forearms internally, firmly supporting the thumb and the indicator on the floor but distributing the weight on the entire hand and fingers;
- By bringing the shoulder blades closer, we open the chest allowing deep breathing;
- The armpits must point down and the shoulders must be away from the ears;
- The coccyx must point up at the same time we try to extend our legs and reach the floor with the wheels.
Adho Mukha Svanasana: warnings
- Those who have less flexibility in the hamstring’s muscles and calves must be careful when trying to do the asana with extended legs, bend the knees might be the most adequate option;
- The focus must be to stretch the upper body;
- Those who have shoulder problems must pay attention to the amount of time the hold the position for. It might be recommended to start with shorter periods of time;
- Pregnant women must pay attention to the signs of their body, but mostly in the third trimester, this pose must be avoided.
The benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana
As we mentioned in the beginning, the Downward facing dog position is extremely good since its level of difficulty is not high, but it focusses on the most important aspects of the body.
The main benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana are the following:
- It strengthens abdominal muscles;
- It improves circulation;
- Improves digestion;
- Reduces fatigue;
- Calms and relaxes the mind;
- Tones and strengthens hands and feet;
- It lengthens the spine;
- Relives headaches, insomnia and back pain.
Adho Mukha Svanasana is an excellent pose to prepare all the standing asanas, handstands or other hands balance positions (like the Crow) because it is at the same time inversion and a moderate hands balance position.
Improve your asana by including it in your daily practices and feel all it can do for you!
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