The most well known of all of the yoga poses, Downward Facing Dog Pose aka. Downward Dog, Down Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana.
A staple pose in pretty much all of the styles of yoga, Downward Facing Dog is a mild inversion (as the head is below the heart) that has amazing effects on the body. This pose is a great transitional pose between other poses, particularly standing poses. It is the pose that we stay in for a while longer than the others in the sun salutation sequence. Why is it such an important and popular pose? Read on to find out.
How to do it
Come onto your hands and knees, with your knees underneath your hips and your hands slightly in front of your shoulders.
As you inhale, push into your hands and feet and lift the hips up, lengthening the spine.
Your body is now in an upside down ‘V’ shape.
Gently drop the heels down towards the mat, straightening the legs if you can.
It’s perfectly fine to have bent knees if the backs of your legs and your hips are quite tight, as we don’t want to compensate the length in the spine and the lift in the hips to have straight legs. (Also, it’s important to note that some people will NEVER be able to drop their heels all the way down onto the mat, as this action depends on how the ankle joint is formed. This is not muscular (which is tension, and can be lessened by stretching), this is bone hitting bone, compression, which no amount of stretching will change).
Your hands should be about shoulder distance apart, your feet about hip width apart. (Again, this will be different for each individual. If you have tight shoulders, take your hands a little wider apart.)
Spread your fingers and spread your weight evenly through the whole surface area of your hands. We have a tendency to put too much pressure on the wrists here, so try to bring the weight out of the wrists and down through the fingers. It can be nice to focus on pressing down through the thumb and the middle finger.
Stay for 1-3 minutes.
Drop your knees and rest in Child’s Pose.
Stretches the back of the body -the shoulders, hamstrings, calves and hands.
Strengthens the arms and legs.
Has an energising effect on the body.
If you support your head with a block, this pose helps to relieve menstrual cramping.
Avoid practicing this pose if you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Diarrhea, or are in the late stages of pregnancy.
To practice this pose under the guidance of a qualified instructor, come to a yoga class in Palm Cove.
For more information and to book a place, contact us.