Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana

Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dolphin pose or puppy pose)

Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana  is excellent for developing the upper body, and its other benefits include toning the arms, opening the shoulders, improving hip flexibility and strengthening the abdominals and back muscles.

How do you pose?: Dolphin pose requires a reasonable amount of flexibility, but once in the full posture adjustments can be made by bending the knees to allow for tight hamstring muscles.

  1. Position yourself on the floor with the support of your hands and knees. Place the knees directly below the hips and the forearms on the ground with the shoulders directly above the wrists. Press the arms and palms firmly together and into the floor.
  2. While exhaling, curl the toes, and lift the knees away from the ground. Lift the heels slightly off the floor gently so that you are balancing the lower body on the toes.
  3. Lengthen the tailbone away from the pelvic region and press it closer to the pubic region. Lift the entire body towards the ceiling in a way where the ankles and the inner legs draw up into the groin region.
  4. Press the forearms into the floor and firm the shoulder blades while holding the head between the upper arms and facing downwards.
  5. Hold this posture for at least 30 seconds and then gently bend the knees to release them, while exhaling normally.

Precautions :

Even though this yoga asana is easy to perform, there are certain precautions that you will need to take. People with shoulder and neck injuries should keep their legs bent while practicing this pose.

Benefits :

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and arches
  • Strengthens the arms and legs
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Relieves menstrual discomfort when done with head supported
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
  • It helps in stretching the shoulders, spine, arches, hamstrings and calves.
  • It strengthens and increases the flexibility of the spine, arms and legs.
  • It helps relieve stress and tension in the upper back region and is therefore especially beneficial to those whose jobs require them to sit for long periods.
  • It helps in toning the core muscles and helps in opening the chest, armpits and shoulders.

Therapeutic Applications :

  • It relieves the symptoms of menopause like pain, irritation, mood swings and even lethargy.
  • Helps in relieving menstrual discomfort.
  • It helps in improving digestion and is therapeutic for health conditions like asthma, high blood pressure, sciatica and flat feet.
  • It relieves back pain, insomnia, fatigue and headaches.
  • It can even prevent osteoporosis if practiced regularly.
  • It helps calm the mind and even relieves mild depression and mental stress.
  • Improves digestion, therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica


Image credit: Shar Ka Dolphin Pose (Free for commercial use)

Author: HealthyLife | Posted on: February 11, 2015

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