Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

Inverted Poses

Inverted poses reverse gravity and supply fresh blood to the head and heart. They are considered revitalizing and tone internal organs, stimulate the brain, and improve circulation. But note this caveat: inverted poses should not be done if you are pregnant or menstruating or if you have high blood pressure, headaches, coronary problems, or neck or spinal injuries. These are fairly advanced poses, and you should relax between each pose.

Translation:

Adho mukha means “to face downward.”

Benefits:

Stretches and releases tension in the upper spine and neck; strengthens and stretches legs and arms.

Instructions:

1. Begin on your hands and knees.

2. Lift your tailbone up and bring your knees off of the floor.

3. Stretch your shoulders and head downward.

4. With bent knees, work to bring your heels to the floor and straighten your legs.

5. Keep your hips lifted, and stretch. Your weight should be evenly distributed on your hands and heels, just like a dog who stretches after a good nap.

6. The focus in this asana is on stretching your back, not on getting your heels to the floor. Breathe.

7. To come out of the pose, go down on all fours.

Note: Be careful not to stress the Achilles tendon when pressing the heels to the floor if you are not flexible or have not sufficiently warmed up.

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