Although a simple pose, svanasana requires precise body positioning. The knees should be directly under the hips and the hands should be directly under the shoulders. On an inhale, the sitting bones and sternum are lifted toward the sky as the belly sinks. As the back arches, the head curls gently toward the ceiling.
Svanasana is believed to reduce stress by calming the mind, especially when paired with marjaryasana. By releasing back tension, svanasana opens the anahata (heart) chakra, stimulating self-love, loving-kindness to others and unconditional love. The asana also offers these additional benefits:
- Stretches the hips and low to middle back
- Stretches the neck and front of the torso
- Strengthens the core muscles
- Lengthens the spine
- Stimulates internal organs, especially the kidneys and adrenal glands
To protect the knees, one may kneel on a folded blanket. Anyone with a neck injury should keep the head in line with the torso, rather than lift the gaze upward.