Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
Benefits: Downward facing dog builds upper body strength and opens the chest while deeply stretching the back and legs. This posture also helps to improve memory and concentration by stimulating the brain and nervous system in a positive manner.
1. From tabletop position, palms directly under the shoulders, spread the fingers wide with the middle finger facing forward.
2. Tuck the toes under, press into the hands and begin to lift the hips up and back towards the ceiling.
3. Using straight but unlocked arms, press the hips up and back melting the chest towards the thighs. Lift up through the tailbone/sits bones to keep the spine straight and long.
4. Allow the feet to be hip’s width distance apart with the toes facing straight forward. Press the heels towards the floor feeling a stretch in the back of the legs. The heels should not quite touch the floor.
5. The legs are straight, or you can have a small bend at the knees (especially if one has back issues) to keep the back flat.
6. Gaze back towards the upper thighs or navel to allow the head and neck hang freely from the shoulders.
7. Breathe deeply and hold for 5-10 breaths.
8. To release the pose, lower the knees back to tabletop position or come into child’s pose.
*Use blocks under the hands or forehead
*Place a slim, folded towel or wedge block under the wrists
*Press both heels against a wall
Recent and/or chronic injury to arms, shoulders, hips or back. Unmoderated high blood pressure.