Downward Facing Dog, like Child’s Pose, may be used as a resting pose during a flow session or by itself as a great stretch for our backs, shoulders, arms, necks, hips, legs and feet. That covers stretching for just about every part of our body!
Please be sure to warm our body to get the most benefit from this pose.
There are several positions in which we may begin to move into Downward Facing Dog.
Standing Mountain Pose to Downward Dog
From standing Mountain Pose, inhale and circle our arms around to Forward Fold, bending our knees to allow our hands to reach the floor and exhale. Inhale, moving into Halfway lift, and exhale.
On our next inhale, step our right foot and then our left foot back, tucking our toes under, raising our sit bones toward the sky, creating a pyramid with our body . . . and exhale.
Table Top to Downward Dog
From Table Top position, we begin on our hands and knees, shoulders over wrists and hips over knees. As we tuck our toes under, we gently raise our sit bones toward the sky, extending our legs, creating a pyramid with our body. We adjust our feet to a comfortable width.
Seated Position to Downward Dog
From a seated position, we will gently roll to Table Top. Begin in Seated Pose and gently bring our knees to our chest, feet flat on the floor. Mindfully roll our knees to one side and continue rolling until we are on our hands and knees in Table Top position.
When we first begin a yoga practice, we may need to modify poses until we become more flexible and/or gain more strength. In a modified Downward Dog, we keep our knees bent and our heels off the floor.
Inhale and on the exhale, we press back through our shoulders. Our fingers are spread wide, pushing through the palms of our hands. Lifting our sit bones, we press down through our legs and heels, taking what our body will give us.
On the next inhale, hold our body in position and on the exhale once again, press back through our shoulders, lifting our sit bones as we press down through our legs and heels. On each exhale, our body will give us just a little more stretch.
Take 3 or 4 deep breaths, then drop your knees to the ground and return to Child’s Pose.
The full expression of a pose, depicts the position to which we are working toward.
In the full expression of Downward Dog, we push through our shoulders to our hands pushing our shoulders back and down while raising our sit bones. Our fingers are spread wide, pushing through the palms of our hands.
We straighten our legs, pushing down through our heels.
Inhale stretch our sit bones up. Exhale push down through our heels and shoulders.
We take 3 or 4 deep breaths, then drop to our knees and return to Child’s Pose.