Downward Facing Dog Pose

Downward Facing Dog Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska


Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) is named as such because in this yoga pose body looks like that of a dog (Svana) relaxing and stretching while burrowing its face (Mukha) downwards (Adho) towards the shoulders.

Downward Facing Dog Pose is considered a base pose as downward facing dog pose variations can be derived from this pose.Downward Facing Dog Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Start in tabletop on all fours. Shoulders stacked over elbows and wrists. Hips are stacked over knees.
Step 2
Walk the hands 2 inches in front of your shoulders, spread your fingers wide and firmly root hands into the earth with the weight distributed evenly throughout your hands.
Step 3
On an exhale, tuck the toes, lift the knees off the earth and shift the hips up and back. Create an upside down V with your body. Gently straighten your legs. Reach your heels towards the earth (they don’t have to touch) and press the floor away with your hands.
Step 4
Lengthen your spine. *You can bend your knees as much as you need to in order to do this.
Step 5
Your triceps rotate back as your elbow creases face forward.
Step 6
Draw your shoulders away from your ears, relax the hand slightly and bring your gaze to your thighs or your navel
Step 7
Engage the quads as you rotate your inner thighs back. Micro-bend the knees and elbows so as not to lock them out. Breath deeply.
Step 8
To get out of Downward Facing Dog: On an exhale, bend the knees and gently release them back onto the earth.

Benefits and Contraindications


Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression

Energizes the body

Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands

Strengthens the arms and legs

Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

Relieves menstrual discomfort when done with head supported

Helps prevent osteoporosis

Improves digestion

Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue

Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis


Carpal tunnel syndrome


Pregnancy: Do not do this pose late-term.

High blood pressure or headache: Support your head on a bolster or block, ears level between the arms.

Photo poses in different angles


A lot of the yoga poses can be practiced initially with the help of yoga blocks , cushions and support from wall. In this yoga pose too there are variations:
– Wrist support with yoga blocks or blankets.
– Wall support to avoid falling and to get better grip.
– Bend the knees, if hamstrings are inflexible or when the back in weak.

Modifications & Variations
  • Three Legged Downward Facing Dog Pose Chair
  • Standing Forward Fold Block Downward Facing Dog Flow
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose Wall Rope Crossed Block
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose Variation Toes
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose Blocks
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose Transition Flow
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose Variation Both Knees Bent Chair
  • Three Legged Downward Facing Dog Pose Push Ups
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose Blocks Under Feet
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose Blocks Variation Knees Bent
  • Three Legged Downward Facing Dog Pose Aerial
Top Preparatory Poses
  • Upward Facing Dog Pose
  • Table Top Pose
  • Child Pose
Top Follow-Up Poses
  • Three Legged Downward Facing Dog Pose
  • Standing Forward Fold Pose
  • Plank Pose

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

In love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. Iana is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) who has completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification by the Yoga Alliance U.S. In addition to that, she is constantly studying and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, biomechanics, and holodynamics.