Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog

 

Downward-facing dog is an all-over, rejuvenating stretch. Sanskrit name: Adho Mukha Svanasana (pronouced: AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna), adho = downward, mukha = face, svana = dog.

Step by step

1. Come to your hands and knees with the wrists underneath the shoulders and the knees underneath the hips. Spread your fingers, the middle fingers should be parallel, pointing straight ahead.

2. Curl the toes under and as you exhale lift the knees, push back raising the hips and straightening the legs.

3. Ground down from the forearms into the fingertips, press the bases of the index fingers actively into the floor. Your weight should be evenly distributed between the hands and feet.

4. Outwardly rotate the upper arms broadening the collarbones, firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward the hips.

5. Allow your neck and head to relax between the upper arms. The important thing is to work on lengthening the spine.

6. Straighten your knees but try not to lock them. Firm the outer thighs and roll the upper thighs inward slightly. Keep the tail bone high and sink your heels toward the floor.

7. Downward Facing Dog is one of the poses in the traditional Sun Salutation sequence. It’s also an excellent yoga asana all on its own. Stay in this pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes. Then bend your knees to the floor with an exhalation and rest in Childs Pose.

Benefits
* Builds strength, flexibility and awareness
* Calms the brain and helps relieve stress
* Energises the body
* Stretches the spine and hamstrings
* Strengthens the arms and legs
* Rests the heart and improves digestion
* Helps relieve insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
* Helps prevent osteoporosis
* Therapeutic for asthma, flat feet (by strengthening the arches of the feet), sciatica, sinusitis
* Reduces stiffness in shoulder blades and arthritis in shoulder joints, wrists and fingers
* Therapeutic for high blood pressure when head supported on a bolster or block
* Relieves menstrual discomfort when done with head supported

Contraindications/cautions
* Carpal tunnel syndrome
* Diarrhea
* Chronic inflammation of the wrists, elbows or shoulders
* Rheumatoid arthritis also will make it difficult for the hands tosupport you –  though sometimes it might help to practice the pose fora short time
* If you have eye problems such as detachedretinas, high pressure in the eyes or cataracts, do downward dog withyour hands on the wall
* Pregnancy: don’t do the full pose late-term, keep the knees down on the floor.

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Meet our Teachers

Corona Brady
Hatha Yoga

Corona's yoga journey began in her early 20's when she introduced herself to yoga for nothing more than curiosity and has been hooked ever since.

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