Downward dog will lengthen the spine and stretch the back of the legs

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Downward Dog (adho mukha svanasana)

 

Downward DogAdho mukha svanasana is a great pose for lengthening the spine, stretching the shoulders and legs. When I first started yoga I think this was my favorite pose at the time, until I learned shoulderstand and then that became my favorite, and it still is now.

When you do this pose you want to focus on shifting your weight back onto your legs. This will relieve the pressure on your arms, which is helpful is you have shoulder or wrist problems.

A couple things to keep in mind during this pose are the you should keep your shoulder blades wide and your spine lengthened. Also a very important point here is even thought it looks like your legs and arms are perfectly straight, DO NOT lock your elbow or knee joints

A resource for you that is very helpful in training this pose as well as others is Scientific Keys Vol 1 - The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga, It is an excellent book that details the muscle and bone alignments for this pose as well as many other postures. It has brought my training to a whole new level. (The ability to visualize what is happening inside the body can really make allot of the more difficult poses easier to do). They have a free first chapter on the site, I encourage you to check it out.

 

How to do this pose.

1. Start sitting on your knees and bend forward reaching your arms out palms on the floor in front of you (child's pose)

2. From child's pose come up onto your hands and knees (Table pose).

3. tuck your toes under and prepare to lift up your body.

4. Exhale as you lift your hips and straighten your legs.

5. Breath in and exhale as you shift your weight back onto your legs and try to stretch your heels to the floor.

6. Relax your head and neck to the floor as your spine lengthens..

7. Hold for 1 to 3 min and then lower yourself back to table and then child's pose. .

 

NOTE: If your legs are tight you can modify downward dog by bending the legs slightly. Also if you have wrist problems and this pose hurts your wrists you can try placing your knuckles on the floor instead of your palms.

I hope you enjoy this pose, I like it, My legs and shoulders feel better after this pose.

I wish you all the best.

 

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