Adho mukha svanasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Svanasana has become very popular nowadays, it is one first pose you will learn in the yoga classes.

It is an inversion pose [1] Downward dog pose that is used as a transitional pose, and even for the rest. [2]

Why it is a transitional pose? Because it is also used as flowing yoga sequences, and it is one of the asanas in Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation).

Adho Mukho Svanasana has numerous health benefits, it stretches the calves, hamstring, and back muscles. And it strengthens the arms, shoulders, legs, and back muscles.

And the best thing is even beginners can do it. Although at the initial stage, they may find it difficult but soon they will master the pose.

You must be wondering, we haven’t talked about its meaning yet, so let’s hop into it.

English Name and Meaning of Adho Mukha Svanasana

Adho mukha svanasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana is a Sanskrit word, and it the combination of four words. Adhas means down, Mukha means face, Svana means dog, and Asana means pose.

This is the reason in English it is known as “Downward Dog Pose”, or “Downward Facing Dog Pose”.

Moreover, this pose is similar to what it looks like when a dog stretches.


Adho Mukha Svanasana is a big phrase, so many find it difficult to pronounce it. So, let’s learn its pronunciation.

This asana is pronounced as A-Doh-Moo-Kah-Shvah-Nas-anna.

How to do Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward dog pose)?

As I have already mentioned, this pose looks simple but it is not. It requires a lot of strength of hands, and legs to do Adho Mukha Svanasana.

But no worries we will master this pose soon. On top of it, it has several health benefits, and we all (I know you are a hard-working person) can do hard work for our health.

But one thing I would like you to keep in mind is to wait at least for 3 to 4 hours after heaving a full meal to perform this pose.

So, take your yoga mat, and be ready to do Adho Mukha Svanasana with me.

  • Kneel on the floor, and place your hands on the floor. So, now you will look like a table.
  • Keep your hands at the shoulder-width apart, and your legs at the hips-width apart.
  • Then exhale, straighten the knees and elbow, and lift the hips up. Now, you are in the position of inverted ‘V’.
  • Your toes will be pointing ahead, and they should be parallel to your body.
  • Don’t look up, keep your head in the neutral position.
  • Take long, and deep breathe. Stay in the pose for a few breaths.
  • To exit the pose exhale, bend your knees, and get back to the start position.

Now, when we have done the pose, let’s understand its benefits.

Benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward dog pose)

“Yoga takes into the present moment, the only place where life exists”.

~ Patanjali

Its benefits will definitely convince you to add a downward dog pose to your daily routine.

downward facing dog pose
  • This pose stretches the calf, hamstring, back muscles.
  • It strengthens the arms, shoulder, legs, and back muscles.
  • Since it is an inversion pose, this increases the blood flow to the brain.
  • This is very useful to tone the muscles, not only the toning this also helps to strengthen the whole body.
  • Improves body posture. [3] benefits of downward dog pose
  • Helps to release stress, anxiety, and fatigue from the mind and body.
  • It rejuvenates the mind and body.
  • Helps to get rid of the stiffness from the shoulder, and legs.
  • If you are feeling tired due to some physical activity like running and skipping this pose will make you feel better, and will prepare you for the next round.
  • It lengthens the spine.
  • Helps to make an arch in the feet.
  • Strengthen the ankles.
  • Because this pose relieves stress, and fatigue it will uplift your mood.

Common Mistakes

We will only be able to take benefits of Yoga or any other physical exercise if we are doing it in the correct form. Now I will tell you the common mistakes to avoid while doing Adho Mukha Svanasana.

Arch in the back

This is one of the common mistakes, most people do at the initial stage. Your back must be straight throughout the whole process.

A wide gap between feet

It is observed that newcomers tend to place their legs very wide, so try to avoid this mistake. Place your legs to the hips-width apart (it depends on your body).

On top of it, your toes must be pointing straight instead of making an angle.

Looking Up

Don’t look up in this pose, keep your neck in the neutral position. Make a straight line with your head, and spine.

Otherwise, this can lead to neck or spine ache.

Weight on balls of the feet

Don’t lift heels off the floor, I can understand that it might be difficult to maintain the pose at the initial stage but try to avoid this mistake.

Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to take its full advantages.

Precautions and Contraindications

  • Don’t do this pose if you have a wrist injury.
  • Not recommended for those who are in the last trimester of pregnancy.
  • High blood pressure patients must refrain from this pose.
  • Don’t do this if you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, detached eye retina, and diarrhea.
  • People who have weak eye capillaries and dislocated shoulder also avoid doing this pose. [4]


Adho mukha svanasana

How long should you hold downward dog?

Try to hold the pose at least for 30 seconds to 1 minute to get its’ benefits.

Why do they call it the downward dog?

Now you have read the whole article, and I know the answer, please post its answer in the comment section.

I hope I have answered all your questions related to Adho Mukha Svanasana, if you still have some doubts please let me know in the comment section.

Are you going to add this to your routine?


This article provides general information only. It would be better if you consult an expert. It is not a substitute for an expert at all.


1 Downward dog pose
3 benefits of downward dog pose

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