Benefits of Downward Facing Dog

Downward facing dog is the fifth yoga posture in a very popular yoga sequence, called Sun Salutation.

Downward dog is a wonderful yoga posture that stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings, calves and arms. When practiced regularly, it also has the following benefits:

  • Strengthens the back, arms and legs

  • Relieves backache, fatigue and insomnia

  • Improves digestion

  • Relaxes the mind and relieves stress

Downward facing dog

How to Practice Downward Dog

1) Start in Yoga Lunge.

2) Exhale and bring your right foot back and fully extend your spine and your legs. Lift your sitting bones towards the sky/ceiling, so you are forming a triangle with the floor.

3) Your arms should be shoulder-width apart and your legs, hip-width apart.

4) Imagine, somebody is pulling your hips to the sky/ceiling and at the same time is pulling your arms away from your shoulders (you should feel a nice stretch/extension in your back, arms, and legs).

5) Make sure both of your palms are fully touching the ground, all of your fingers are evenly spread and all the parts of the palm are bearing the same amount of weight (it's very common, for example, that the thumb part of the palm gets lifted).

6) Stretch your heels towards the floor (while at the same time you are extending your sitting bones towards the sky/ceiling).

7) Your neck and head are just a natural extension of your spine, don't let your head hang.


Don't practice this yoga posture if you are menstruating or pregnant. If you have extremely high or low blood pressure, this yoga posture might also not be for you (consult your physician if you would like to practice it). Certain headaches can also get worse with this yoga posture (others might get better;-).

If you have wrist problems, such as a Carpal tunnel syndrome, try to support your hands with a Slant Board, which elevates the wrist off the floor.

Return from Downward Facing Dog to Yoga Poses

Move from Downward Facing Dog to the next Yoga Pose in Sun Salutation Plank Position

Move from Downward Facing Dog2 to the next Yoga Pose in Sun Salutation Yoga Lunge

Return from Downward Facing Dog to Ayurveda Holistic Medicine HomePage

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