Pose of the Month

Hello!  Since opening StudiOne yoga + fitness I have been asked by clients to share some tips/tricks on various yoga postures.  Today, I will share how to properly get into one of the most familiar yoga postures, a Downward Facing Dog,-Adho Mukha Svanasana.  I also felt compelled to share two variations to the downward facing dog in my blog.  I hope you enjoy these poses as much as I do.  Let's get started!

   Downward Facing Dog,- Adho Mukha Svanasana

Downward Facing Dog,-Adho Mukha Svanasana

Begin on your mat in a table top position (be sure the surface is flat) with your knees directly below your hips, feel free to make two fists place them side by side on the mat between your knees for proper hip spacing.

1. Inhale.  Spread fingers wide at the top of your yoga mat, if your shoulders are tight, turn the middle fingers toward the top corners of your mat.  Distribute your weight evenly into the finger pads and palms with an emphasis on the index fingers and thumbs.

2. Exhale.  Tuck your toes at the back of your mat. Slowly lift the knees off of your mat, keep knees slightly bent.  Send your pelvis to the sky. Draw lower ribs in and maintain a flat back. Continue the breath cycle, inhale and exhale out of your nose.   

3. Alternate your heels toward the earth (walk your dog).  Do not have any expectations your heels will touch the earth, they may not, and that is perfectly ok.  One day you will get into this posture and begin to alternate your heels and they will touch, that is what happened to me.  Spin your inner thighs inward and upward toward the sky. 

4. Continue to press your mat away from your body, fingers spread wide like starfish.  Gently shake your head yes and no, to release your head, neck and shoulders.  Align your ears with your upper arms, gaze toward your knees or navel.  Send your heart toward your thighs.

5. Hold for 3-5 breath cycles (longer if you are more experienced).To release, exhale the knees to the earth for tabletop.

6. From tabletop you may wish to transition to child’s pose, to re-connect to the breath and reflect on your intention.   

   Three Legged Downward Facing Dog- Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svansasana

Three Legged Downward Facing Dog- Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svansasana

If you are looking for a challenge, try Three Legged Downward Facing Dog- Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svansasana. 

1. Begin in a Downward Facing Dog.     

2. Exhale, press hands evenly through the top of your mat, with an emphases on your finger pads, index fingers and thumbs.   

3. Inhale your right leg up to the sky, foot may be flexed or pointed.  Internally rotate the right leg so your knee and foot point toward the mat.  Then begin to lift your leg higher than you think possible. 

4. Exhale, relax the head, neck and shoulders by shaking your head yes and no.  Align your ears with your upper arms. Gaze toward your navel or knees. 

5. Inhale, reach your left heel toward the earth. Maybe alternate heels toward the earth for a breath cycle or two.

6. Exhale, keep your standing leg strong then sink your heart toward your thighs for a deeper stretch. 

7. Hold for 3-5 breath cycles (longer if you are more experienced).

8. To release, exhale and lower your right leg and place your right foot back on your mat, next to your left foot.  Repeat the posture on the left side.

  Three Legged Downward Facing Dog Hip Opening Variation- (fire hydrant).

Three Legged Downward Facing Dog Hip Opening Variation- (fire hydrant).

1. Begin the pose from the Downward Facing Dog.

2. Inhale, extend your left leg up and back, lift up to the sky. 

3. Keep your hips level with one another and keep your left foot flexed.  You may stay here if this is enough, or begin to bend your left knee allowing the foot to fall to the right side. 

4. Point the left knee to the sky, then stack your hips directly on top of one another.

5. Continue to press evenly into the hands at the top of your mat. 

6. Hold for 3-5 breath cycles. 

7. To release, exhale, square off the hips and lower the left leg and place the left foot next to the right foot on your mat. 

8. Feel free to end your knees to the earth to find child’s pose to get reconnected, reflect on your intension then switch to the other side.   

Whether you are new to yoga or would like to take the pose step by step, I have a few tips I use in my own yoga practice to share with you.  

Get into each posture slowly and carefully as you allow your body to feel each movement.  Take the time to properly set up your foundation, before moving to the next body part.  Listen to your body.  If you feel any discomfort or pain, STOP, get out of the posture, visit child’s pose for 3-5 breath cycles then if you decide revisit the posture, or skip it all together.   Conscious breathing.  The breath cycle is critical in yoga.  It connects our mental, emotional and the physical state of mind.  It allows us to be present and let go of the past. 

One of the things I love most about yoga....modifications.  If you are not quite ready for the full-fledged downward facing dog, for example, you may use a wall.  Stand back approximately three feet with your legs hip distance apart, slowly walk the hands down the wall until the upper body is parallel with the hips. Hold for 2-3 breath cycles then walk your hands back to a standing position.  Repeat 2-3 times. 

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog.  Want to know more about a yoga pose, or a step by step guide, let me know at studionetulsa.com.