Pose of the week: Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog or Adho mukha svanasana is a foundational yoga pose when practicing vinyasa.  Downward Dog has the ability to lengthen the spine as well as the hamstrings.  This is a pose where your body finds the shape of a V.  Your neck is relaxed and you are connect to the earth or grounding.  When you first start a yoga practice Downward Dog can be difficult so you modify as you need to and let your body grow into the posture.  Dropping your knees to the mat is absolutely okay,  listen to your body.  As with any pose remember its your practice, find the pose where it feels good for you.  When done properly and daily downward dog can truly create a shift in mind, body & spirit.

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Downward Dog Benefits!!!

  • Energizes the body
  • Calms the Mind
  • Helps relieve stress & Anxiety
  • Grounding
  • Strengthen - Arms, Legs,Chest, Hands & Shoulders
  • Stretches out - Shoulders, Chest, Hamstrings, Calves & Hands
  • Elongates the Spine
  • Brings Awareness to Your Breathe
  • Can provide a decrease in Back Pain
  • Decrease Headaches
  • Increase full-body circulataion
  • Tones the Core
  • Blood flow to the Brain

Important Things to Remember...

Downward dog is a pose that is commonly done incorrectly.  Most common issues I hear from students is my wrist hurt, I don't have the strength, or my shoulders are uncomfortable.  There are ways to combat all these issue when doing the pose properly.  Here are 5 things to remember when finding your downward dog.

  • Number 1 spread your fingers wide and let all 4 corners on your hand touch the mat.  This allows not only a better connection to the earth and ability to ground it relieves pressure on the wrists. 
  • Number 2 relax your neck and look towards your knees or feet.  By doing this you allow the spine to lengthen and remove tension from the upper body. 
  • Number 3 you want your hands and feet to be a legs width apart not the length of your mat.  All of our bodies are different sizes and trying to touch both ends of the mat is just not realistic for all of us.  The pose should feel good not like your being pulled apart.
  • Number 4 Let your ears fall in line with your arms. This is a delicate process because you don't want your head too far forward or too far through the arms because it will add pressure to your wrist or shoulders.  This is also why I suggest a gaze towards the knees or feet.
  • Number 5 your whole does not have to touch the ground.  It can if that is in your practice, it doesn't need/have to though.  Your heel can be lifted from the mat.  And when your heel is lifted it gives you room to grow.

Overall Downward Dog is a pretty awesome yoga pose with a ton of benefits.  Explore your Downward Dog.  Find it daily to keep the doctor away!  

Love & Light

Katie B