Yoga is a personal, physical practice. Importance being on the word “practice”. As I look back to when I first started practicing yoga in my home with a dvd narrated by Nicki Doane, I realize the dreaded pose then is now my favorite pose. The beloved downward facing dog! I can be achy and stiff, but when I drop to my knees and press back slowly into a down dog, my body is miraculously healed! In the beginning, I struggled just to be able to hold myself up for 10 breathes. Now, it is my “go-to” pose.
Although I do have several favorite poses, the down dog will be the first pose I share with you on this blog.
- Downward Facing Dog
When doing the downward dog, I try to visit these key points of being in the pose:
a. Press the heels towards the floor.
b. Press the knuckles of each finger into the floor, thumb included, especially the “L” shape of each hand, which is the index and thumb pressing actively into the floor.
c. Lift the sitting bones into the sky.
d. Elongate the spine creating space between each vertebrae. Breathe into those spaces.
e. Placing the ears even with the arms.
f. Press the thighs back into the hamstrings.
h. Hands are shoulder-width apart and the feet are hip-width apart.
i. Hands press back into the feet and the feet press into the hands.
j. Hands are open wide. Feel the power and strength in the hands and wrists.
k. The navel/core draw into the lower spine and help control the breath.
l. Shoulders press away from the ears as the shoulder blades draw down towards the sitting bones.
m. Hold pose for 6-10 breathes.
The sanskrit for Downward Facing Dog
is Adho Mukha Svanasana (AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna). Adho
meaning downward, mukha
meaning face, and svana
is a very helpful and insightful tool if you are interested in pursuing a yoga practice. You can find the YJ magazine in your local grocery store, or you can even receive it through an annual subscription.
If you are interested in trying yoga, pace yourself, master the breathing before trying to master the poses. Breathing will only help you move deeper into your poses allowing you to fully reap the benefits of your yoga practice.