Downward facing dog. Short called Down Dog. Named after the way dogs naturally stretch their bodies! And maybe one of the most recognized yoga poses in the West.
A pose which builds up strength while stretching the whole body. Downward-Facing Dog is an essential component of Sun Salutations and THE transitional pose in a yoga class.
Prep Poses: Plank Pose, Uttanasana
How to get in there and out:
Come into tabletop with your hands and knees on the ground. Knees are hip wide apart and underneath your hips while your hands are slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your fingers equally (Index fingers facing straight forward while Thumbs are facing each other = L- Shape ). Activate your toes.
Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. Keep the knees bent while pushing actively away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone towards the sky and draw the inner legs up and into the groins. Push your top thighs back and stretch your heels down towards the floor. Straighten your knees if possible.
Widen your shoulder blades and draw them away from your ears. Rotate the upper arms in and the lower arms out. Keep the head active but soft.
Modification and props:
To get a feeling how your arms should be in this position, loop a strap around your arms just above your elbows. Push against the belt while drawing your shoulder blades down and in.
Deepen this pose:
To challenge yourself a bit more, go over into Tripod – Downward – Dog. Inhale and raise one leg up from the floor, in one line with your torso. Keep the hips leveled and press through through your heels. Hold up to 30 seconds. Release with an exhalation and repeat on the other side.
After Poses: All Standing poses, Headstand, Childs Pose
Benefits of this pose:
- Energizes the whole body
- Improves digestion
- Stretches shoulders, hamstrings, calves, achilles
- Strengthens arms and legs
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Since this pose counts to Inversions ( = poses where your head is lower than your heart ) this pose is not recommended at late-term pregnancy!
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