Adhomukha Shwanasana – popularly called Downward facing dog pose is almost always featured in any asana class.
At a physical level, it strengthens the legs, helps with circulation and is a foundation pose for study in inversions and arm balances.
Initially, your heels may not touch the floor or the legs may not remain straight, but with practice, you will find your pose.
If you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or weak wrists, modify this pose by placing your forearms on the floor.
On days when you want a restorative practice try a variation by placing a bolster under the head while holding this pose and after a few minutes release and relax into balasana or child’s pose.
To take the practice of this pose to the next level, play around by lifting one leg all the way up towards the sky.
To challenge yourself, if you are already a pro, lift one leg up then bend the knee, raise one hand and turn to gracefully drop back to urdhva dhanurasana and return to the original inverted “V” position. Synchronize your movements with the breath.
Some teachers like to add a vinyasa, for example move through chaturanga to urdhvamukha shwanasana to jump forward to uttanasana and finally come up to standing. Take this route if you want to do a dynamic version. A classic example of this is the Mysore style practice of sun salutation A .
If your heels do not touch the floor, take your mat close to a wall and place your heels on the wall it will help you to get a sense of ease and work the muscles of the legs.