Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) is a gentle inversion that brings heat to your body, strengthens your arms, stretches your legs, lengthens your spine, and gives your heart a rest.


From floorEdit

  1. Start on all fours (hands and knees)
  2. Tuck your toes under
  3. Exhale, stretch your hips to the sky, let your head sink to the earth (form a "lambda" or "upside-down V" shape with your body)
  4. Continue to breathe

From standingEdit

  1. Start in Standing Forward Bend ([[1]] )
  2. Inhale, bring your legs back behind you (hop, skip, jump, walk, your choice)
  3. Stretch your hips to the sky, let your head sink to the earth
  4. Continue to breathe


  • Reach your hips as high as they can go
  • Reach your thighs as far behind you as you can go
  • Let your head be heavy, and let your neck relax (let it go)
  • Spread your fingers wide apart; make sure your middle fingers are pointed straight out in front of you (wrist lines are parallel to the front edge of your mat)
  • Press down with the entire surface of your hands (not just the wrists, not just the fingers, but everything in between)--this action protects your wrists
  • Hands about shoulder-width apart and level with each other


  • Knees can be bent or straight, heels up or down
  • Easier: Feet about hip-width apart;
  • More Challenging : Feet close together
  • Adjust the distance between your hands and your feet as necessary


For those with wrist problems, heart conditions, eye problems (glaucoma, ocular hypertension, etc.), or are overweight, do the following

  1. From standing, put your hands flat on a wall
  2. Exhale, walk backward while keeping your hands on the wall
  3. Stop moving just before you can no longer keep you hands (comfortably) on the wall (it's okay to slide your hands down the wall as you're backing up)
  4. Let your shoulders relax and open up; let the backs of your legs stretch out
  5. If you have no eye problems: Let your head hang loose
  6. If you do have eye problems: Keep your head stretch straight out from your spine, or look at your hands
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