Essential Yoga Pose: Downward Facing Dog

The other day I had a voice mail from my sister. I tapped the ‘play’ button on my phone and heard a loud laughing voice booming over the speaker. She yelled, “Help! I’m stuck in a permanent Down Dog. I don’t know what to do!” Immediately I burst into a big smile. I loved her joke, it was funny. I don’t know if that has ever happened, but I’m sure it would have been all over the news. Her joke has kept me thinking about how downward facing dog is one of the basic essential yoga poses. I know many people don’t know how to get into it or how good it feels. Let’s get to it!

Downward Facing Dog – adho (downward) mukha (face) svana (dog) is one of the essential yoga poses. It’s good if you’ve had a hard day. It’s like medicine for those that love pills. If you like immediate results, it’s literally a quick fix for a serious case of the blues or a stress filled day. It’s a simple pose that anyone can do, with or without a mat. It delivers total body strengthening and relaxation. It allows your body to lengthen out; stretching your arms, spine, and legs. I know you’re excited about trying it out, so  here’s how to get into it. This is a step by step guide to getting into down dog (and enjoying it).

How to Get into Downward Facing Dog

  1. Get onto your hands and knees
  2. Hands shoulder width distance apart slightly in front of your shoulders
  3. Spread your fingers and palms flat on the floor
  4. Knees hip width distance apart, tuck your toes under
  5. Lift your sit bones up away from your pelvis creating an upside down “V” with your body, heels press down
  6. Lift the pit of the belly in and up towards your spine
  7. Drop your head and look in between your feet
  8. Take several deep breaths through your nose (notice: you feel better, right?)
  9. Smile! Repeat!

(If you down dog doesn’t look this < one on the left, its okay. She’s just showing off. You can tell by the look in her eye. She does this pose at least twice a day, every day, for a life time. Everyone must start somewhere, don’t let her get to you. She was born a natural.)

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2 thoughts on “Essential Yoga Pose: Downward Facing Dog

  1. @ Linda – yeah! See even dogs know how to sigh, it’s a great way to clear the space and energy. After you sigh you can start all over again. How’s your down dog this week? I know we won’t have class tonight or next week, so when are you going to practice instead?

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