… Otherwise known as Downward Facing Dog (or Downward Damn Dog, if you’re my friend KF.)
In the early stages of this yogic-journey, I would venture that Downward Facing Dog is the core of a yoga practice. It’s the basis for the sun salutations and, in the style I practice, the resting pose between sequences.
For info on Adho Mukha Svanasana check out:
- Yoga Journal for basics, forum discussions and therapeutic benefits of this pose.
- Yoga for Beginners on YouTube.
- GTTSB, founder of the The Asana Project has posted some great modifications under the awesome post title of “Housebreaking the Dog” as well as links to older posts.
Some things I’ve learned that help me with this pose:
- press the weight of the hands into the mat through the thumb and the first and second knuckles of the fingers. This will help take the weight out of the wrists.
- Also, actively engage the abs and tuck your tailbone, lifting your hips as high as they can go. This will shift the weight back into the legs and stretch the hamstrings, rather than keep the weight coming forward into the shoulders and arms.
- An easy way of getting the hips up in the air is, once in the pose, bend the knees a lot, almost to the mat, lift the hips, then, keeping them in that position, gently stretch the legs. I do this in my first Dog of a practice and in the middle when my body is starting to get tired and my Dog gets sloppy.
Have fun! Let me know what you think! (I’m seriously restraining myself from a “doggy-style” joke here.)
Follow-up on Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana): it’s a great pose for people with osteoporosis and/or sciatica. Because it stretches all the major joint areas and the lower back in a gentle way, it can be a real release for those who suffer from these conditions.