Downward Facing Dog Stretch explored

Downward Facing Dog Stretch explored

This is known as Adhomuka Svanasana in Sanskrit

Dog Head Down – not only does this pose increase self- confidence but it can also help reduce stress, relieve depression and anxiety as well as strengthening the immune system – we all need to stretch like our canine friends more!

This is an inverted stretch as you have your head lower than your hips and in doing so you bring fresh blood to the heart as well as the lungs, which helps to increase the fitness of the whole body.

With the increased blood flow you are helping to rest and rejuvenate the heart as well so this is great if you are tired to bring a sense of being ‘refreshed’.

Here are a list of the amazing benefits to this pose when regularly practiced 

  • Tones and relaxes the nervous system which helps to relieve anxiety and depression
  • Cures breathlessness, palpitations, fatigue and sunstroke
  • Stabilizes blood pressure and heart rate
  • Relieves arthritis in shoulders, wrists and fingers
  • Reduces lower backache
  • Increases flexibility of hips, knees, ankles and strengthens ligaments and tendons of the legs
  • Relieves damage to knee or hamstring muscles.


You can come into the pose from lying down or kneeling and if you work on a mat you won’t risk slipping.

There are many variations that bring further benefits –

1). A favourite way to work is to let the head rest onto a bolster – this will relieve headaches and hypertension.

2). If you have a wall you can elevate your hands on to yoga bricks and rest your head on a brick or bolster which strengthens the arms and increases restfulness in the heart and mind.

3). Work with the heels up a little up the wall and head supported to strengthen calf muscles and further stretch the back.

Tips to improve your pose –

  • Extend your arms from the elbows to the shoulder
  • Stretch from your butt to the ceiling
  • Pull up your knee caps
  • Chase your thighs with the chest and thighs move away from the chest (chase me!)

‘Yoga helps integrate the mental and the physical plane bringing about a sense of inner and outer balance’ B.K.S. Iyengar

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