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Pose of the Month: Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Sanskrit Name and meaning (AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna) adho = downward mukha = face svana = dog

How to: Step 1 - Come down onto the floor on your hands and knees with your shoulders stacked directly over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Curl your toes under. Step 2 - Spread your fingers wide, lift your knees off the floor, and lift your hips up to the ceiling. Straighten the legs without locking out the knee joints. For those with tight hamstrings, you may keep a slight bend in your knees. Step 3 - Press into the hands and lengthen your arms. Keep your head between your arms. Spiral the inner thighs slightly inward. Step 4 - Draw the shoulder blades down your back. Step 5 - Stay for one to two minutes, then lower back down to your knees.


  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches of the feet, and hands

  • Strengthens the arms and legs

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress

  • Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue

  • Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma and sciatica


  • Avoid if in late term pregnancy or if you have carpal tunnel syndrome

  • If you have high blood pressure or headache, support your head on a bolster or block with the ears between the arms

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