Downward-Facing Dog Pose is one of the most well-known yoga poses – but make sure you’re doing it correctly or you won’t experience its many benefits!
Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is a foundational yoga pose you will find in just about any yoga workout. Downward-Facing Dog (often known as “Down Dog”) stretches and strengthens the entire body, especially the hamstrings, shoulders, and back. Down-Dog is great for relieving back pain and stiffness, and it also helps to improve posture by strengthening the muscles surrounding the spine.
As it is a weight-bearing exercise, this pose can also lower the risk of osteoporosis, and it is also thought to help relieve mild depression and anxiety.
Just about anyone can benefit from regular practice of this pose, but it is not recommended for those who suffer from migraines or high blood pressure, or for those who are in the last trimester of pregnancy.
Beginners should modify the pose as needed – remember to listen to your body, and breathe deeply and slowly throughout the exercise. To modify, bend your knees slightly (but make sure to maintain a neutral spine throughout) and allow your heels to come up off the mat as far as needed, or, place your hands on a low chair or the bottom few steps of a staircase for an even easier version.
This quick video demonstrates how to do this basic yoga pose. (For more detailed information and instructions, visit GotYoga.com.)