Downward Facing Dog Mythology

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) by The Artist Pog

Downward Facing Dog, also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit, is a popular yoga posture with a long history rooted in Hindu mythology. The posture is considered a cornerstone of modern yoga and is known for its physical benefits, including increased flexibility and stress relief.

According to Hindu mythology, the dog is considered a sacred animal and symbolizes loyalty, courage, and devotion. In ancient Hindu texts, the dog is often depicted as the companion of the god Shiva, who is associated with meditation and yoga. The dog is said to guard the entrance to Shiva’s lair, where he practices yoga and meditation.

This can be related to Greek mythology, where the three-headed dog Cerberus guarded the entrance to the underworld and prevented the dead from leaving and the living from entering. Both mythologies are associated with guarding the underworld or inner world, symbolizing the protection of the subconscious mind.

In yoga, the downward-facing dog posture is seen as a way to connect with the subconscious mind and bring balance to the body and mind. The inverted position of the posture is thought to represent the transition from the conscious world to the subconscious and the release of negativity and tension.

The downward-facing dog posture is believed to have originated from a depiction of a dog stretching after a nap. The posture was originally known as the “dog stretch” and was used to warm up the muscles before meditation and yoga practice. Over time, the posture evolved and became a staple of modern yoga, symbolizing the union of body and mind.

In the downward-facing dog posture, the body is inverted, with the hands and feet on the ground and the hips lifted up towards the sky. This position not only improves physical health, but is also believed to help balance the energy centers in the body, known as chakras, and improve overall well-being.

In conclusion, the downward-facing dog posture has a rich history rooted in Hindu mythology, where the dog symbolizes loyalty, courage, and devotion. Today, the posture is a cornerstone of modern yoga and continues to be widely used for its physical and mental benefits. Whether practising for physical health or spiritual growth, the downward-facing dog is a posture that holds great significance in the world of yoga.