Adho Mukha Svanasana

Definition - What does Adho Mukha Svanasana mean?

Adho mukha svanasana is a foundational yoga asana that requires flexibility and upper body strength. In this asana, the body forms an inverted “V” with the feet and hands pressing into the ground and the hips pushing to the sky. As well as a range of physical benefits, it is believed to calm the mind, yet energize and rejuvenate the body.

The name comes from the Sanskrit adhas, meaning “down,” mukha, meaning “face,” svana, meaning “dog,” and asana, meaning “pose.”

The common English name for adho mukha svanasana is downward-facing dog pose, or simply downward dog or down dog.

Yogapedia explains Adho Mukha Svanasana

Adho mukha svanasana is part of the surya namaskara (sun salutation) series in many types of yoga. It serves as a transitional resting pose and is often one of the first poses someone new to yoga learns.

Traditionally, this asana is believed to activate a number of the chakras, including the manipura and ajna chakras. Activating the manipura chakra through adho mukha svanasana is thought to dispel fear and insecurity, while the ajna chakra stimulates perception and inspiration.

As an inverted pose, adho mukha svanasana gets blood and body fluids flowing in the opposite direction by reversing the action of gravity. The inversion is also thought to provide a different perspective on an emotional level, boosting confidence.

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