Stretch of the Week: Adho Mukha Svanasana

Downward Dog Yoga with Instruction

This pose is great for digestion and decompressing the spine. (Photo credit: Destination Yoga)

Grace Ballas

Wellness Editor

This week’s new stretch is downward facing dog. This popular pose translates in Sanskrit to Adho Mukha Svanasana.


My biggest piece of advice with performing this pose is to have a slight bend in the knees depending if that feels comfortable to the individual. Personally, I have hyperextended knees, so a slight bend relieves tension and over extension pain. 

Downward facing dog is really beneficial. This particularly benefits digestion, stretching the shoulders, and decompressing the spine. Downward dog works the entire body and requires mindfulness to every part of the body.

It is one of the most fundamental stretches that can be quite difficult to feel fully comfortable in. Downward dog can be held for as long as five minutes in hatha style yoga. Ideally, in a flow sequence it would be held anywhere from 30 seconds to 60 seconds.