To begin, downward facing dog is a posture of reflection and a posture of humility. The head hangs below the heart as we reflect upon the experience of our practice. In Vinyasa Flow yoga, we come into adho mukha svanasana in between standing postures on the left and right sides. In downward facing dog, we restore equilibrium, we restore our awareness, and we bring ourselves back to the present as we observe and fully engage all parts of the body once again.
- One of the key points from last Sunday's workshop was the engagement of the the rhomboids to draw the shoulders and arms back. Finding and engaging the rhomboids can be tricky as we often use the muscles in our arms to move them. Simple exercises that isolate the rhomboids can help us identify and understand movements that originate from this area.
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- Before coming into a full downward facing dog, take your time to set up the posture on all fours.
- Your downward dog should be as wide as your high plank. Taking downward dog with the hands and feet too close place a lot of pressure on the shoulders and lower back. You should be able to move from high plank through to downward facing dog without adjusting the placement of your hands and feet.
- Importance in downward facing dog is given to the length of the upper body. Lengthen through the waist and the side ribs. You DO NOT need to place your heels on the floor or straighten the legs. Keep the legs slightly bent, draw the heels back and keep the toes lifted. You'll find length through your upper body in this way. Engage the inner thighs as if you're squeezing a block between the legs.
- Pin the arms and elbow in to shoulder distance apart and rotate shoulder outwards to engage the triceps. Those with a tendency to hyperextend should keep a slight bend in the elbows.
- Hollow in the armpits to avoid sinking into the shoulders and arms.
- Here are some fun partner adjustments that can help you to feel great in downward facing dog.