DOWNWARD FACING DOG (ad-ho, muk-ha, svan-asana)

How To:

Lying face down on the floor, place your palms on the side of your chest then straighten the arms and tuck your toes as you move your trunk up and your head inwards towards the feet, keep the elbows straight.  Your feet are hips distance apart as you gently lower your heels.  If your heels don’t touch the ground don’t worry.  Notice your arms are shoulders distance apart with your hands facing forward, spread the webbing in the hands and press firmly into your index fingers and thumbs, the left hand is slightly counter-clockwise, while the right hand is clockwise.

Modifications to Lessen or Advance the Pose:

Lessen: Widen your stance, bend your knees deeper, and/or slightly bend your elbows.

Advance: Internally rotate your fore arms as you externally rotate your triceps, pull your navel in and up feeling the tail bone as the apex of the pose, then ignite your thighs up off your knee caps as you slightly and internally rotate them, then gently lower your heels.  Soften your neck, feeling your heart melting through your arms.

 

Benefits:

This foundational posture offers energy for those who are drained.  This relieves stiffness in the heels, and strengthens the ankles, legs, shoulders, and abs.  The brain is rejuvenated.

Cautions:

Make sure to keep the hands forward as to not hyper extend the elbows, also lower the heels to your own degree to protect the hamstrings from over extension as well.

Body Part/Muscle Focus:

Upper Back, Wrists, Hamstrings.

Sports Crossover:

Volleyball, Basketball, Tennis, Gymnastics, Football.

Mental-emotional:

The power of this one pose is undeniable as nearly every major muscle group is stretched and strengthened.  By performing down dog you’re becoming more powerful as you affirm your foundation, thus keeping you grounded, with each passing breath.

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