The 7 health benefits of the Downward Facing Dog

Category: Article or Blog Published: Thursday, 08 October 2015 Written by Sarah PJ White

The Downward Facing Dog pose is known as the ‘anchoring’ posture. It is one of the master positions, taught in most styles of yoga. Traditionally known as ‘Adho Mukha Svanasana’, the Downward Facing Dog is great for experienced and novice yoga fans alike. There are a number of health benefits you gain from practising this yoga move – the main 7 are listed below.

When practising the Downward Facing Dog it’s important to engage your core muscles. Your body should form an inverted V – without allowing your shoulders to sink or your upper body to collapse down. You’re aiming for long, lean and stretched. It’s also important to make sure you don’t hyperextend your knees – so draw up through your quads.


To take full advantage of this pose, aim to pull your navel into your spine as you stretch into this pose. This encourages your digestive organs (liver, spleen and kidneys) to function better.


When it comes to increasing your energy and feeling alive, the Downward Dog is one of the best poses to include in your routine. Spend at least 1 minute in the pose, to ensure maximum benefit – this is especially welcome, if you’ve had a hard day at the office!


Like any other pose that puts your heart above your head, the Downward Facing Dog encourages the blood flow throughout your body. This not only helps regulate your blood pressure, it can also help flush out toxins and keep your immune system in good order.

Muscle toning (upper and core)

Practicing the Downward Facing Dog pose will help you maintain the flexibility and tone in your upper muscles. It also helps you tone your core muscles, as pulling in your navel encourages your abdominals to engage and support your spine. Remember to also push down through your heels, to maximise the stretch in your quads.

Release tension and stress

The Downward Facing Dog pose is especially beneficial to those who suffer from shoulder and/or upper back pain. We hold so much tension in these areas and, they in turn, can cause our neck muscle to tighten and result in tension headaches or migraines.

Bone density

This pose is an especially important one to use as we grow older, as it can help minimise our risk for osteoporosis. The upper body muscle take the weight of your body, causing them to shake and giving your bones a bit of a rest!

Taking a much-needed pause

Whether you need to stretch out the aches and pains in your body or give yourself a mental timeout – the Downward Facing Dog pose enables you to take a much-needed pause. This makes is the perfect pose to add to your daily routine – whether you prefer evening or morning yoga routines.


If you are looking for a way to get into a regular yoga practice but aren't sure how to start, my Yoga For Beginners DVD is a perfect place to start.

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