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Adho Mukha SvanasanaAdho Mukha Svanasana also called Downward Dog or Downward-Facing Dog is a popular Hatha Yoga posture or asana.
DescriptionDownward Dog begins by kneeling with the hands and knees on the floor, hands under the shoulders, fingers spread wide, knees under the hips, knees about seven inches apart, spine straight and relaxed.
On a deep exhale, the hips are pushed toward the ceiling, the body forming an inverted V-shape. Legs are straight. Arms are straight, elbows engaged, shoulders wide and relaxed. The heels move toward the floor. Hands and feet remain hip-width apart. If the hamstrings are very strong or tight, the knees should be bent to allow the spine to lengthen fully. Pressure is avoided on the wrists by pressing into the fingers and palms, directing the push upward into the hips. The head drops naturally. The heart moves toward the back wall.
The hips move up and back. Relying on the breath while holding the posture, the student takes deep, steady inhales and exhales that create a flow of energy through the body. Concentration on maintaining a slow, rhythmic, sustaining breath is most important. On an exhale, the student releases onto the hands and knees and rests. Teachers and practitioners of yoga believe that the benefits of Downward Dog include:
* Stretches the shoulders, legs, and spine.
* Builds strength throughout the body.
* Provides an overall body stretch.
* Removes fatigue and rejuvenates the body.
* Increases blood flow to the sinuses.
* Strengthens the immune system.
* Calms the mind and lifts the spirits.
* Improves digestion.
* Strengthens arms, legs, and feet.
This posture is not recommended when the wrists are sensitive or injured. Modifications are advised in that instance.
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