[POTM] Downward Facing Dog: Adho Mukha Svanasana

Downward facing dog is a quintessential yoga pose in that engages your whole being. It calms your nervous system and works on overall flexible springs. It decompresses your spine, tones and strengthens your arms, open the arches of your feet, scallops and lengthens your thighs, and is an amazing shoulder opener. The entire backside of your body is a weekend, engaged, and set free. It has an inversion element to it, so you turn your world upside down, shifting your bio chemistry.

Steps to practice

  1. Contract and activate your quadriceps.
  2. Press your thighbones back toward the wall behind you.
  3. Pull your hips back and tilt your tailbone up.
  4. Lift your sitting bones upward toward the sky and spread them away from each other.
  5. Pull your navel toward your spine for upward lift.
  6. Press your arms down and forward.
  7. Drop the shoulder blades down your back, bringing elbows in toward each other.
  8. Palms should be flat, like pancakes, pressing your mat forward.
  9. Spread your fingers evenly apart.
  10. Place weight into your knuckles, not your wrists.  Give emphasis to pressing down through the knuckles of your index fingers.


  • Stronger hands, wrists, low-back, hamstrings, calves and Achilles tendon
  • Decrease in back pain by strengthening the entire back and shoulder girdle
  • Elongated shoulders and shoulder blade area
  • Decrease in tension and headaches by elongating the cervical spine and neck and relaxing the head
  • Deepened respiration
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Increased full-body circulation

Taking it to the next level

Small children aren’t posing or posturing.  They are just being.  You can always tell when someone is posturing in a yoga post.  Just let yourself be natural  Naturalness starts with a willingness to come out from behind the mask: posturing less, letting go more, and just letting the light shine through us.  This light is an invisible force that reaps visible results, ultimately allowing us to shine.

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Peace, Love + Grooviness,

Samatva Yoga

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