Adho Mukha Shvanasana Why is the Adho Mukha Shvanasana such a popular asana in any yogic practise? It’s almost safe to say that every yoga teacher will always throw in a downward dog somewhere in their yoga class. This pose can be used creatively as a transition asana, bringing together a beautiful yoga flow. Or it can be a great asana to hold for minutes at a stretch (restorative), which yields various benefits. Let us look at some fun facts about the downward dog: This asana has various digestive benefits. The position of having the head lower than the heart promotes good blood flow. This asana relieves menstruation pain. The pose strengthens the feet and helps cure flat feet. It creates the perfect balance between the upper and lower part of the body. Helps combat headache, insomnia, fatigue, depression, anxiety The downward dog is actually a gentle inversion. It stretches the hamstrings. It opens up the chest and shoulders. Let us not delay any longer on the benefits of practicing the downward dog. It’s time to get started! 1. Start by sitting in Vajrasana. 2. Get into table- top position, creating a 90 degree angle with the body. 3. Inhale and as you exhale, gently lift the lower body up from the buttocks. 4. Push the heels down towards the ground, deeper with every exhalation. Try to have both heels completely on the ground. 5. Stretch into your shoulders and arms, deeper each time, for a great opening in the back. 6. Hold this position for 8 breaths. 7. With an exhalation, bring the body down into table top position and then flow into balasana. 8. Release the body and relax in this pose. 9. Inhale, rise back up with hands in Namaskara. Gently open your eyes. The best part about this pose is that anyone can practice it! Even if you find it a little difficult, don’t hesitate in bending the knees slightly, or paddling the legs to bring the heels down a little closer each time, still experiencing all the benefits! Someone with sciatica or knee pain may be gentler with the asana, but no harm in giving it a try! Let us experience the serenity, peace and balance that the yogis do by holding this asana and going deeper into it everyday.