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Downward Facing Dog Yoga Pose – Adho Mukha Svanasana


Adho Mukha Svanasana

[ah-doh moo-kah shvah-nahs-anna]

Adho means downward. Mukha means facing. Svana means dog. In this posture, we create a triangle to the relationship of our hands to our seat and then back down to our feet.


Benefits of Downward Facing Dog

  • Teaches us to distribute our weight evenly throughout our body.
  • Balances the strength and flexibility of the upper and lower body.
  • Create space between our hips and our ribcage and traction for the spine.
  • Initiates a parasympathetic response, relaxing the nervous system.


  • Modifications might be necessary for those who suffer from neck, shoulder, wrist, knee or back pain.
  • People using blood thinners should be cautious with inversions in general.
  • Glaucoma or Retinal Detachment.


  • Start on all fours with your hands underneath your shoulders, knees and feet 6 inches apart and with your toes curled under.
  • Allow your legs to pull you back into Downward Facing Dog pose. Keep your knees bent and stay on the balls of your feet, focusing on lengthening in the waist.
  • Spread your fingers and think of your hands as the paw pads of a dog.
  • Feel the upper arm bone stay firm in the shoulder socket.
  • Feel the shoulders spread apart as your lower arms press ever so subtly together.
  • Feel your shoulder-blades slide down into your back pockets and lengthen your spine from your tailbone to the crown.
  • Lift your hips higher and feel more space between your hips and rib cage.
  • Feel that your neck is long and your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Press your heels toward the earth, feel grounding earth energy coming up through your feet and legs and into your torso.
  • Distribute the weight throughout the body so that there is a perfect balance between the weight on your feet and the weight on your hands.

Preparatory Poses

Counter Poses