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Audho Mukha Savanasana — Downward Facing Dog
(AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna)
adho = downward
mukha = face
svana = dog

DownwardDogRGBCome onto all 4's with hands shoulder distance apart and about an inch in front of your shoulders, knees directly underneath the hips, hip distance apart. Root your palms into the mat and spread your fingers wide but the thumbs not quite so wide, the index fingers pointing straight ahead.

Turn the toes under, take a deep breath and as you exhale lift your hips up and back as you press up into the pose. The feet should be hip distance apart or wider if your heels are high up off the mat and it is okay to let the knees have a slight bend to them if your hamstrings are particularly tight.

Lengthen your tailbone away by pressing your thighs up and back and slowly start stretching your heels toward the earth.

The palms are active, as if you are trying to squeeze all the air out from under them, feel for lengthening through the wrist, into the arms and ultimately through the spine.

Shoulder blades spiral away from the midline of the body. For many this is confusing, how do you spread your shoulder blades wide when you are inverted? I like to describe it as if you are turning the armpits towards your face, hopefully you showered today! Then try to feel as if you are rooting your shoulder blades down into the back of the ribcage and toward the tailbone.

Let the neck relax and the head hang. Over time as you develop more strength try and align the head so that the ears are alongside the arms.

In the beginning of our yoga path Adho Mukha Svanasana feels like a lot of work and requires a lot of upper body strength to maintain. Try to hold the pose anywhere from 1-3 minutes before releasing and resting in Balasana, childs pose. After sometime, downward facing dog will be so familiar and comfortable you will come to find it as a welcomed resting pose, like a home base for your yoga practice!

Contraindications may include wrist injuries, 3rd term pregnancy and high blood pressure.

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