One of the most commonly recognised yoga poses and one we use a lot in Power Yoga is the Downward-Facing Dog — Adho Mukha Svanasana (Ah-doh MOO-kuh shvan-AHS-uh-nuh).
This is a beautiful standing pose with mild inversion that stretches the entire body while building strength. Dogs naturally do this stretch which is where the pose got its name.
- Elongates and releases tension from your spine
- Stretches your hamstrings, calves, arches and hands
- Strengthens your arms, shoulders and back
- Improves your digestive system
- Relieves back pain, headaches, insomnia and fatigue
- Calms the nervous system and helps relieve stress
Step by step:
- From all fours (on your hands and knees) ground your hands down and spread your fingers wide with index finger pointing forward
- Exhale and push your hips towards the ceiling until you are in an inverted V shape
- Press your chest toward your knees, shoulder blades down the spine and push your thighs and knees back
- keep your eyes on your toes and press your heels toward the floor
- Breathe deeply and move deeper into the pose with each exhalation. Depending on your flexibility, you may be able to touch the floor with your heels but don’t push yourself too hard.
You can come back to this pose at any stage during your practice if you need to stretch out your body.
I recommend doing the Downward-Facing Dog pose every morning as soon as you get up – it is the absolute best way to start the day!