Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana or the downward facing dog pose stretches and straightens the spine, strengthens the leg muscles, flexes the hamstrings and thigh muscles and improves balance. In Sanskrit, Eka means one, Pada means leg, Adho means down, Mukha means face and Svana means a dog. Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana is an intermediate level pose that can be attempted by most practitioners.
How to do Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Start with the simple Adho Mukha Svanasana For this, start in kneeling position and place your palms on the floor in front of you. Keep the palms spread out on the mat. The knees should be preferably behind the tail bone to get a good stretch in the final downward facing dog pose. Slowly raise your knees and straighten it out. At this point the legs are straight and the weight of the body is supported by the two palms and the feet. Stretch your heels and the thigh muscles while straightening the legs. Tuck your belly in and push the chest slightly towards the floor while straightening the spine. Place your head between the inner-side of the upper arms and look down towards the floor. This is the simple Adho mukha Svanasana pose. Breathe normally in this position.
- From here we proceed to the Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana which involves raising one leg upwards.
- Raise your right leg upwards in the air. Try to align the right leg with the spine. This is the final position. Remain in this position for up to a minute or according to your convenience.
- To release the pose, bring down the right leg to the floor and come back to the simple downward facing dog pose.
- Repeat the same with the left leg raised in the air.
Benefits of Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana is an inverted pose. It reverses the flow of blood to the head and upper chest region, nourishing the brain with ample blood supply thereby relieving headaches and migraine. This pose can improve cognition and other brain functions.
- It gives a good stretch to the spine, the quadriceps and the leg muscles.
- This asana relieves pain in upper and lower back.
- It helps to loosen the hamstring muscles and the hip flexor muscles for more flexibility.
- Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana strengthens the arms and the shoulders.
- It creates a sense of relaxation and well-being and boosts confidence.
- Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana is a good balancing pose. Staying in this pose for a minute can improve the sense of body balance.
Contraindications of Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Being an inverted asana, Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana should not be done by those suffering from high blood pressure.
- Do this pose with caution if you suffer from vertigo.