Adho Mukha Svanasasa (Downward Facing Dog Pose) gets its name from Sanskrit where "Adho" means "Half", "Mukha" means "Face" and "Svan" means "Dog".
Health Benefits Of Adho Mukha Svanasana
• beneficial in strengthening the whole body specially the arms, legs, shoulders and feet.
• Regular practice of Adho Mukha Svanasana calms the mind and relieves headache, insomnia and fatigue.
• Regular practice of Adho Mukha Svanasana tones the muscles of the body and helps in weight loss.
• Another benefit of Practicing Adho Mukha Svanasana is that it increases the circulation to the brain.
• Adho Mukha Svanasana lengthens the spine, strengthens the muscles of the chest increasing lung capacity.
• It rejuvenates and body and makes you feel energized.
• Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose can also be of benefit in treating lower back ailments like Sciatica.
• Adho Mukha Svanasana is also beneficial for lung disorders like Asthma.
• Adho Mukha Svanasana also helps in treating menstrual symptoms like menstrual pain and discomfort.
• It also helps relieve mild depression and stress.
• Regular practice of Adho Mukha Svanasana improves digestion and also helps in getting rid of Constipation.
• It also helps relieve symptoms of Sinusitis.
• With regular practice you can also get rid of Flat feet.
• Adho Mukha Svanasana leaves you feeling energized and rejuvenated.
• It calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression.
• It lengthens the spine and strengthens the muscles of the chest thereby increasing lung capacity.
• This pose strengthens the arms, legs, shoulders and feet
• Because of the weight bearing nature of the posture on the arms and legs, it helps strengthen the bones and prevent osteoporosis.
• It helps relieve the symptoms of menopause.
• Adho Mukha Svanasana relieves headache, insomnia, back pain and fatigue.
• This pose can be used as a therapeutic aid for high blood pressure, asthma, sciatica, flat feet and sinusitis.
Holding poses for a longer period of time is an extremely beneficial addition to your practice.
Whether you hold your poses in a Yang or a Yin class, it will help you feel more steady and strong. The four main benefits, as we see it, of holding poses are as follows:
1- Builds Strength
Holding a pose for a longer period helps build strength and stamina. For example when you hold Warrior II for a longer period, the muscles of your legs and arms have to work harder to maintain the pose.
2- Time for your alignment
When you hold a pose, you have time to actually feel, to adjust and to readjust. Watch out for allowing your mind to become completely occupied with this. While it's fine to take some time to focus on your alignment don't allow it to become your sole focus in the pose.
3- Gives space for emotions
Holding a pose for longer then you are used to can often give space for emotions to arise. You go beyond the point that is comfortable (obviously you come out of the pose if it feels painful or does not feel ‘right'). Going beyond the comfort zone can bring up fear and other emotions.
Everyone of us immediately reacts when life becomes uncomfortable, we try to change it. But sometimes we can't and we have to accept it. Practicing acceptance is a good thing to do while holding your pose for a while. Learning to stay with the breath and staying present to any emotion that arises will help. Exercising acceptance on the mat will really help you when something happens in your daily life that brings up particular emotions that you don't particularly like, but you know you can't or don't want to change. You can apply the same principles, staying with the breath and observing the feelings go by without attaching to them.
4- Stabilizes the mind
So holding a pose challenges the mind. Just like in Yin Yoga, when you hold a pose for longer, staying still in the pose takes more effort to be present. There is also more space for stuff to come up about shopping lists, difficulties in life and that kind of thing. When that starts to happen be aware of this. Through breathing consciously and staying with your anchor (the breath for example) you can stabilize your mind. By constantly recommitting to your anchor, whether it's your breath, physical sensations in your body or something you choose yourself really helps to cultivate stability in your mind.
After a practice with holding poses for longer periods (in Yang - holding poses for up to 10 breaths/a minute, in Yin - holding poses for up to 3-5 minutes) you will feel very grounded.
It's like everything sinks into your belly and your legs. You feel solid on the earth and your mind is quiet.
We personally love holding poses. This practice is really interesting for restles people (flighty, quick mind, quick movements etc) because holding a pose is not something that comes naturally! But it is a practice that is more beneficial than any other because it balances out that other, quicker side of you.
It's all about balance
If you are quick and flighty or slow and steady, it's ultimately all about finding balance in your practice so getting the right mix of a faster flow and a slower one where you hold your poses is up to you!