Downward Dog

By Camille Pierson

Sanskrit name: Adho Mukha Svanasana

Adho (downward) Mukha (face) Svana (dog)


  • From a table top position, on hands and knees, lift the hips up with hands in line with shoulders, and feet in line with hips. Spread your palms, index fingers parallel, and press the hands into the floor.
  • Move the hips upwards away from your hands and feet. Lengthen through the arms, legs and back. Firm the thighs and roll the upper thighs inward slightly. First find the length through the body, then work the heels towards the floor.
  • Slightly tuck in the lower abdominal area to activate your Uddiyana Bandha.Downward Dog 1
  • Soften the shoulders and pull the shoulder blades down the back away from the ears. Move the shoulder blades away from each other bringing the armpits in towards the chest. Try to find lightness in the shoulders.
  • Once in the pose connect with your breath.
  • When you need to rest come into Child’s Pose.

Safety Tips

If your hamstrings are tight, slightly bend your knees and keep your heels off the floor, and work on straightening the back. You can warm up your dog by alternating bending the knees before you work on the full pose.


  • Takes tension away from the shoulders.
  • Helps to lengthen the back muscles, which can help to ease back pain.
  • Stretches and opens the muscles in the back of the legs, especially lengthening your hamstrings.
  • Helps to stretch out the feet and ankles.

If you are a beginner to yoga and want to find out more, try out some yoga classes at the Float Spa, find a teacher you like working with and let them help you to develop your yoga asana practice safely.

Gemma Williams – Yoga Teacher @ The Float Spa – Hove

About the Author:

Camille Pierson
Camille is the managing director of the Float Spa and a Trustee of the Brighton Yoga Foundation. She’s immensely proud of the community she’s built at the float spa and takes real pleasure from seeing yoga & floating transform people’s lives. She’s also a mother of two.

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