Downward Facing Dog Pose:

Name: Downward Facing Dog pose

Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Svanasana

Pronunciation: AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-Nahs-ann

Pose Level: Beginner

downward facing dog pose


  • Start on your hands and knees. Line up your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Take the tip of the mat as a reference. The index finger should be perpendicular and both palms of your hands should adhere to the ground.
  • Straighten your elbows and keep your upper back relaxed.
  • Spread out your fingers and begin to push the palms of the hands to the ground. As you push, try to distribute your body weight exactly in the middle, between your hands and feet.
  • Now, while exhaling, pivot on your toes and raise your knees off the ground.
  • At this point concentrate trying to raise the ischium as much as possible, at the same time, try to stretch the coccyx.
  • Then, slowly begin to stretch your legs as far as you can. Attempt, to put your heels on the ground. If you are unable to extend your legs, keep them bent and your heels slightly raised. Over time, if you practice consistently, you will see improvements.
  • While in the position, use your hands to force as if you were to push the mat away, raise your ischium towards the sky and push your heels towards the ground.
  • With your head you can: look ar your hands; look at the navel; leave completely relaxed;
  • Now, hold Downward Facing Dog pose by breathing deeply. Start with 5 breaths, then, increase.


  • Whole body energy and rejuvenation.
  • Stretches the back of the body.
  • Relieve back pain.
  • Strengthens both the legs and the arms.
  • Relieves headaches, insomnia and fatigue.

Pose Modifications:

Slightly bend one knee and keep the other extended. Then, reverse the legs and repeat for a minimum of 5 times.

Slightly bend both knees, Bent-Knee Downward Facing Dog.

Alternatively you may try this pose off the wall or against the wall. This is called Downward Facing Dog against the wall.


Adho Mukha Svanasana. Why to avoid?

Suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, as the pain may increase. Use caution if pregnant. Both the pressure of the belly on the legs and the fact that a slight inversion is performed are factors that may warrant other more useful poses. Furthermore, if you suffer from high blood pressure, vertigo, neck or spinal injuries.

Remember to work within your means, and listen to your body.

Poses Commonly Transitioned too:

One legged Downward facing dog, Child’s pose, 

Poses Commonly Transitioned From:

Child’s pose, Upward facing dog, Cat pose, Cow pose, Plank pose