Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) | iHanuman


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Adho Mukha Svanasana

English Name: 
Downward Facing Dog Pose
Practice Type: 
Practice Level: 
Asana Image: 
Model: Dawn F. Cala Nova, Ibiza, Spain
Asana Description: 

Geometry: Inverted V. Hands parallel and shoulder width apart. Feet parallel and in line with hands. Arms and Legs are Stretched Straight.

With Support:
Hands at Wall
Heels at Wall
Head on Block

1. Lie prone on your yoga mat; on the stomach, face downwards. The feet should be one foot apart. 

2. Rest the palms by the sides of the chest, the fingers point straight ahead towards the head. 

3. Exhale and raise the trunk from the floor. Straighten the arms, move the head  towards the feet and place the crown of the head on the floor or a block.

4. Draw the knee caps up. Fronts of the thighs towards the backs of the thighs. Open the backs of the knees.

5. Both sides of the heels move towards the mat. Press the mat evenly. 

6. Breathe deeply and evenly. On an exhale raise the crown of the head off the floor, stretch the trunk forward and lower the body gently to the floor and relax. 

OR From Uttanasana Step the legs back 3 - 4 feet into Downward Facing Dog and then step forward again into Uttanasana.


Additional Points:

  • Feet parallel to each other and toes extended forward.
  • Press the roots of the fingers and the heel of the palm evenly.
  • Stretch from the hands to the buttocks and from the heels to the buttocks.
  • Press the hands and draw the trunk towards the legs.
  • Move the shoulder blades in and down the back.
  • Lengthen the collarbones and broaden the chest.
  • Bear the weight on the legs by pressing the thighbones back.
  • Reach the sits bones towards the ceiling and lengthen the sides of the waist.
  • Internally rotate the top of the front thighs. Spread the backs of the thighs.
  • Externally rotate the upper arms and internally rotate the forearms.
  • Lengthen sternum to chin. Tailbone down.
  • Heels at wall - stretch the toes forward. press the bottoms of the shins (fronts of the ankles, tops of the feet) back. remember to link tadasana in the legs.
  • Fronts of the thighs to the back. inner thighs move in. outer thighs move back. extend the calf muscles down to the floor.
  • Press the hands and move sequentially. take the inner thighs back. take the outer thighs back. the arms and the legs. lengthen the spine and the torso.



  • Press the palms evenly into the mat and lengthen the arms and the torso.
  • Roll the biceps out and the triceps in. Roll the forearms in towards each other.
  • Press the palms and lift the hips.
  • Press the palms and move the chest towards the legs.
  • Reach the heels down towards the mat evenly and open the backs of the knees.
  • Roll the front thighs in and press the tops of the thighbones back.
  • Move the outer hips back and from the buttock bone stretch down through the inner and outer heels.
  • Press the feet as in tadasana and take the thighs back.
  • Lift the hips towards the ceiling and lengthen the torso.
  • Press the roots of the palms and spread the fingers.

See Bobby Clennell's Illustration of and Description of this pose.

Check Out this Article on Adho Mukha Svanasana on Yoganonymous.

Sanskrit Pronunciation: 
  • Removes fatigue and brings back lost energy. Relieves pain and stiffness in the ankles, heels, and legs.
    Eradicates stiffness in the shoulders.
    Tones abdominal organs.
    Is an Inversion for those afraid of Sirsasana. Resting for the heart. Cooling for the brain.
    Recommended for high blood pressure ( place head on support), palpitation, depression and swinging moods.
    - BKS Iyengar, Light on Yoga, Geeta Iyengar, Preliminary Course.
Beginners Tips: 
Learn to stretch from the hands to the buttocks and from the heels to the buttocks. - Geeta Iyengar, Preliminary Course.
Keep the feet parallel to each other and extend the toes.
Move the trunk towards the legs.
Take the shoulder blades into the back and broaden the chest.
Bear the weight on the legs!
Modifications and Props : 
Take hands to the wall, palms turned out and externally rotate the arms. Press the thumb and forefinger into the wall. Use the hands at the wall to press down and into the wall to create length in the arms and the side body.  Press the hands to create space in the shoulder and then take the shoulderblades into the back. 
Take backs of the heels to the wall.
Place the head on the support of a block or bolster or blanket.

For tight shoulders place hands on blocks. For very tight shoulders or hamstrings, place hands on a chair.

Those who suffer from headaches or high blood pressure should support it. Never keep the head hanging loose.


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