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Styles & Poses


The Downward Dog yoga pose, known as “Adho Mukha Svanasana” in Sanskrit, has a rich history rooted in ancient yoga traditions. The pose finds its origins in the practice of Hatha Yoga, a branch that focuses on physical postures to achieve balance and harmony between body and mind. Downward Dog is prominently featured in the Sun Salutation sequence, which is central to many traditional yoga practices. Its roots can be traced back to ancient texts like the “Hatha Yoga Pradipika” and the “Yoga Korunta.” Over the centuries, the pose has evolved and been adapted by various yoga schools, each emphasizing its benefits for flexibility, strength, and overall well-being. Today, Downward Dog remains a fundamental and widely practiced yoga pose, appreciated for its transformative effects on both the physical and mental aspects of one’s yoga journey.

How do you do downward dog?

Step 1.

Begin in a child’s pose or in a quadruped/tabletop position with palms slightly in front of shoulders and knees hips’ width distance apart. Press into your knuckles with fingers evenly spread wide. Tuck your toes under and lift your hips up and back.

Step 2.

Wrap your armpits in toward your ears to widen through your back and push the floor away to take pressure out of the shoulders.

Step 3.

Bend your knees as needed to lengthen the spine and reach your sit bones up to the sky. Allow your heels to lower down towards the mat (it’s perfectly normal for heels to remain slightly lifted).

Step 4.

Relax your head and neck, and gaze towards your navel or between your thighs. Hold and breathe.

Step 5.

Exit by lowering your knees back to the mat.

Benefits of Downward Dog

Strengthens the entire body: Legs, arms, core, shoulders, wrists.
Stretches the spine, hamstrings, calves, Achilles tendon
Improves circulation
Reduces tension and stress

Variations of Downward Dog

3-legged dog, lifting one leg into the air
Against a wall as a prop
Use blocks underneath your palms

Other Yoga Poses to Try


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