Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Downward Dog - the right way

Almost everyone who has ever done yoga loves downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). There aren't very many poses that feel better. It's one of the most basic poses -- and consequently it's also one of the easiest to get wrong. Many people do this position incorrectly without even knowing it. Here are some good explanations of the right way to do it, restated from Yoga Journal. I've put the steps/considerations that I was missing before in bold and at the bottom I've added some more that they didn't mention. Perhaps this will help someone else get the most out of their daily practice . . .

Starting position: Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your palms, index fingers parallel or slightly turned out, and turn your toes under.

The lift: Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis. Against this resistance, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, and from your inner ankles draw the inner legs up into the groins.

Then with an exhalation, push your top thighs back and stretch your heels onto or down toward the floor. Straighten your knees but be sure not to lock them. Firm the outer thighs and roll the upper thighs inward slightly. Narrow the front of the pelvis.

Firm the outer arms and press the bases of the index fingers actively into the floor. From these two points lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the head between the upper arms; don't let it hang.

Hold this position for 1 to 3 minutes.

Additional Considerations:

1: Make sure that you put your entire hand down onto the floor as opposed to just your fingers, the outside of your hand, thumb-bone, etc. Being mindful of this will prevent wrist-strain and improper weight distribution.

2: Take care to ensure that your weight is distributed equally between your hands and your feet.

**Also, for visual learners, here's a video that does a good job of explaining the pose properly:


fatbellybella said...

yes yes. Sun salutations to this post!

Berg said...

Respect. I am willing to learn. So late on my daily yoga. Is it easy to do this everyday? Takes discipline.

tarica june said...

peace Berg. it's not hard to do everyday. with yoga i've found that starting to practice is the key--after that it gets easier to keep it up, and u actually start to look 4wrd 2 it. i think it's best if you've never practiced before (and you don't want to pay for a class) to start w/ videos. this way it's unlikely that you'll learn poses incorrectly and then have to unlearn any bad habits. anything by rodney yee (Gaiam) is great in my book. you can try his a.m. yoga or if you're already athletic, his power yoga. these to me are better than the other beginner sequences out there on the market. also, maybe i'll post a short sequence that u can start out with sometime soon. peace.


nice reminder

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