Downward Facing Dog, Sanskrit name Adho Mukha Svanasana, is one of our foundation poses. It’s an asana used so frequently that we often overlook important alignment principles. We’ve broken down Downward Dog into sections of the body to help you nail the pose.
Base: Place hands shoulder width apart, with wrists parallel to the front of your mat; spread fingers wide. Place feet hip distance, or about two fist’s width away from each other.
Arms: Push away from the floor to lengthen arms back and up; lift inner arms up and into the shoulder sockets to stabilise.
Head and neck: Release tension from neck, keep ears between the arms and gaze between the legs.
Shoulders: Create a straight line from wrists to hips and wrap bottom tips of the shoulder blades toward the side ribs. Widen across the collarbones.
Torso: Lengthen through all four sides of the torso. Don’t let bottom ribs poke forward! Direct lower front ribs down toward the hip bones.
Pelvis:Lift hips up and back away from the shoulders.
Legs: Push straight back through the thigh, engage all of the leg muscles.
Feet: Keep feet hip distance and parallel as you reach down through the heels.
Benefits: Downward Facing Dog is a gentle inversion, which means it’s ace for our circulatory system; it works with gravity to assist blood flow and clear waste from cells in the body. In addition, Downward Dog can ease digestion, aid respiration and boost brain function. Not to mention it’s great for improving coordination and general body awareness.
Have you heard about our “Yoga 101- Alignment and Foundations” workshop this weekend, Sat Nov 29? From 2-4 p.m. join Kula Yoga founder Kacey Smith for an informal and fun introduction to yoga course. More info and online bookings here: https://kulayoga.com.au/workshops.
About the author: Miranda Raimon is a yoga instructor, Kula studio manager and freelance health & wellness writer from the San Francisco Bay Area.