Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog


This exercise involves starting on all fours, then lifting the hips up and back to create an inverted V-shape with the body. It is a common yoga pose that stretches the hamstrings, calves, and spine while also strengthening the arms and shoulders.

Equipment Required

Downward Facing Dog Instructions

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
  2. Spread your fingers wide and press firmly through your palms and knuckles, tucking your toes under.
  3. Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor, keeping them slightly bent.
  4. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis.
  5. Press your heels down toward the floor and straighten your legs, but do not lock your knees.
  6. Keep your head between your upper arms and your gaze toward your navel.
  7. Hold for 5-10 breaths, then release back to your hands and knees.

Downward Facing Dog Form & Visual

Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog Benefits

  • Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and spine
  • Strengthens the arms and shoulders
  • Improves digestion and relieves stress
  • Helps to relieve headaches, fatigue, and back pain
  • Can improve posture and balance

Downward Facing Dog Muscles Worked

  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Back
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves

Downward Facing Dog Variations & Alternatives

  • Three-Legged Downward Facing Dog
  • Downward Facing Dog with Alternating Leg Lifts
  • Downward Facing Dog with Knee-to-Nose
  • Downward Facing Dog with Dolphin Plank
  • Downward Facing Dog with Side Plank