Downward Facing Dog or Down Dog for short is more than likely the most well known yoga pose of all time. Most people who haven’t practiced yoga, know this yoga pose. Down Dog is a foundational pose as well as an inversion and one that many people struggle with. I created a short video that gives some good cues to help you refine and sink deeper into downward facing dog or in Sanskrit adho muck svanasana.
How to get into down dog:
- Lay down on your stomach.
- Place your hands/feet shoulder/hip width distance apart.
- Press up to the top of a pushup.
- From high plank, send your hips up & back, creating an upside down V with your body.
- Spread your fingers as wide as possible-hands are shoulder width distance apart
- Press down into your index and thumbs to seal your hands to the earth
- Sink your heels closer to the earth
- Your gaze or drishti should be between your knees
- Squeeze your belly button towards your spine
- Avoid sagging your head by activating your neck muscles and keeping your ears in line with your biceps
- Bend your knees and pedal out your dog-possibly even sway your hips from the left side to the right side
- Create long lines of energy from the palm of your hands to your tailbone & from your tailbone to the soles of your feet
- Internally rotate your forearms (arms spinning in towards your face) while externally rotating your biceps (biceps spinning outwards away from your face)
- Strengthen wrists, low back, calves, hamstrings, & achilles tendon
- Encourages blood flow (you’re upside down) and works to both energize as well as calm the body & mind
- Helps to build bone density and strengthen the muscles of the upper body
- Creates flexibility and helps the entire body build strength
- Helps eliminate back pain and stiffness
- Elongates the entire spine
- Opens the chest and heart chakra
- Bend your knees as much as needed to keep your spine long and straight
- If you experience wrist pain-try pressing through your index and thumbs firmly-if you still have pain then place a folded towel under your wrists
- Place rolled up towel or mat underneath your heels to firmly press your feet into the ground
Downward dog is a foundational yoga pose, so keep working and trying out different things that feel good in your body. Remember to focus on alignment and you’ll be able to create a sustainable yoga practice. If you like any of these tips or have any questions let me know in the comments below.