Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward facing dog
1. Lie down on your belly. Place your hands near the sides of your chest, with elbows pointed
toward the ceiling. Point your toes back.
2. Tuck your toes under and come to your knees.
3. Exhale your breath and raise your knees from the floor. Lift your hips up and draw them back. Further raise your hips by lifting your heels, coming on to your toes. Have a slight bend in the knees.
4. Straighten your legs and pull up your knee caps. Press your legs away from your body and reach your heels towards the floor.
5. Firmly press your hands into the floor and draw your shoulders away from your ears. Keep
your arms straight and let your head hang freely towards the floor. Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds and breathe normally.
Gain more extension in the shoulders by placing blocks under your hands. Have the blocks near
a wall to secure them.
For a calmer way of practicing, place your head on a bolster, folded blanket or block.
When reaching the hips up and back, reach them as if to an area of the unknown, spread away
the vulnerability in the back of the thighs. Remain grounded to what has been established and soar
the sides of the chest to greater possibilities.
When practiced with the head supported, Adho mukha svanasana reduces high blood pressure
and calms and regulates heart palpitations. It brings relief to those who suffer backache,
arthritis, upper-back stiffness, sciatica, and displaced spinal discs.
This posture also helps individuals deal with asthma, shortness of breath, bronchitis, and nasal
catarrh. Include this posture in your practice if you have displaced uterus, umbilical hernia,
or kidney, menstrual, or prostate problems. (B. Clennell, 2013)