The iconic yoga posture - Adho Mukha Shvanasana AKA downward facing dog - looks easier than it is!
'Down dog' as it has widely come to be known in the west is an iconic yoga asana (posture), but we still have many people ask how to do downward facing dog properly. It is the shape we move to on repeat throughout a vinyasa flow sequence and is often used as a resting pose. It's a shape that we come to rely on often as a backbone of our flow and so its important to get it right.
Here are our 5 top tips for a safe and enjoyable down dog.
Hands and arms
Palms connect with the mat shoulder-width apart, with fingers spread to distribute the weight evenly across the hands (not the wrists).
Elbows are straight, but not hyperextended. Imagine the hollow of the inside of your elbows are trying to gently face each other. This externally rotates your shoulders, automatically spreading shoulder blades wide and keeps the shoulders from hugging the ears.
Your hips/pelvis and sit bones are aiming to head towards the sky. Your knees can bend a little or a lot to help the hips get where they need to be. This is more important than having straight legs and heels to the mat.
Aim for feet hip-width apart and far enough back from the hands so you’re your body can make a triangle shape, with your hips creating the point of the triangle. The priority is the position of the hips, spine, head and neck. Your legs and feet can eventually work their way flat to the earth however, this may not happen for a long time or at all and that is absolutely fine! Everyone is different.
Spine, head and neck
Your spine, head and neck should make one straight line from the pelvis. Drawing your belly button in towards the spine will help you be able to achieve strength and stability in this powerful and dignifying pose.
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