Exercise of the Month – The Downward Dog


downward facing dogExercise: Downward Dog

Sanskrit Name:  Adho Mukha Svanasana

Type of Pose: Standing, Mild Inversion, Resting

Benefits: Stretches and strengthens the whole body. Can help relieve back pain, and improve posture



Lenthening: peronei, glutes, hamstrings, pectoralis major, soleus, latissumus dorsi, gastrocnemius 

Shortening: deltoid, lower abdominals, triceps, tibialis anterior, rhomboids, quadriceps, extensor digitorum longus

Stabilizing: serratus anterior, rotator cuff muscles


1. On all fours, with knees slightly behind hips and hands under shoulders, curl toes under, lift knees up.

2. Hands shoulder width, entire rim of palm presses strongly into matt, first fingers parallel.

3. Feet hip width, heels stretch back and down towards mat.

4. Arms are straight, forearms lift, inner elbows facing each other.

5. Shoulder blades hug the back and move towards tailbone

6. Ears between biceps.

Common Problems:

  • Hands misaligned or cup
  • Pelvis not neutral (too much arch or too much rounding)
  • Wrists, shoulders and/or forearms collapse
  • Head misaligned


  • Wrist injury
  • Elbow injury
  • Shoulder injury
  • Reflux
  • High Blood pressure
  • Glaucoma



About Katherine Smyth

Katherine Smyth, is a registered Acupuncturist with the CTCMA, personal trainer, yoga teacher, and counselor and owner of Squamish Mountain Medicine. Squamish Mountain Medicine is an alternative medicine clinic helping people live pain free without the use of prescription drugs. Squamish Mountain Medicine provides natural health options to people of all ages, with a specialty in pain, injuries, stress, depression & anxiety, headaches, digestive issues, women’s health, fertility and pregnancy care. Kat is a proud part of the integrative team of practitioners at Reach Physiotherapy Clinic in Squamish, British Columbia. To book an appointment or for more info go to www.squamishmountainmedicine.com

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