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Pose of the Day: Downward Facing Dog

Arguably one of the most practiced yoga poses across the board, downward dog is a staple in any asana practice.

It gently opens the calves, hamstrings, chest, and shoulders while lengthening the spine and neutralizing the nervous system. Down dog is a go-to for me when I just need to hop into a pose and breathe deeply. It gets me out of my head and into my body without much effort.

How to do downward facing dog:

Start from a table top position (hands and knees) and then lift your knees off the ground, straightening into the legs.

Reach your sits bones up toward the sky and draw your heels down toward the ground (it’s okay if they don’t touch the ground yet). Do your best to keep your shoulders drawing down your back rather than floating up into your ears!

Suck your lower belly in and up while you engage your pelvic floor. Look toward your belly button.

Separate your feet about hip width distance and your hands shoulder width apart. This is generally a good cue but pay attention to your own body. If it feels better to bring everything a little closer or further apart, do so!

Activate the body! Spread your fingers and toes, stay strong in the arms and legs— you can think about pushing the ground away from you to really wake up the pose.

Option to “walk your dog” a couple rounds by bending one knee at a time to allow the body to settle into position a little deeper. Eventually you’ll want to find some stillness here and take at least five full, slow, steady breaths.

You can come out of the pose by simply placing your knees back down on the ground.

Happy practicing!

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