Yoga Poses for Strength: Adho Mukha Svanasana, Downward Facing Dog Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana – This invigorating yoga pose has the look and feel of a dog having a good stretch. The spine, hamstrings and shoulders are all stretched vigorously and the inversion provides additional blood flow to the head.
1 Stand in ‘Mountain Pose’ (Tadasana). Inhale as you raise the arms over the head. Exhale and fold forward from the hips into ‘Deep Forward Fold’ (Uttanasana), hands beside the feet. Inhale and look forward, raising the chest away from the thighs. On an exhalation, step the right foot and then the left foot back (or jump them lightly back together). Have the feet and hands at least 90 cm (3 feet) apart.
2 Place your feet hip width apart with the legs straight and strong. Ensure the middle fingers point forward and that you are not taking the weight only on the little finger side of the hands. Press that palms evenly into the floor and move your chest closer towards your thighs as you press the sitting bones of the buttocks upward, lengthening the spine. Move your hips back and up, away from the wrists.
3 Once you have reached maximum upward extension of the spine, focus on opening the backs of the legs. Press down through the heels and fully straighten the knees, without locking them. If the soles of the feet come fully to the floor, step your feet farther back to give yourself more of a challenge.
4 Rotate your shoulders externally so that the upper arms move away from the ears. Let the crown of your head come closer to the floor so that the back of the neck is long. Tuck in your chin and look toward the naval.
5 Stay here for 10 to 30 breaths, breathing smoothly and deeply to enliven the whole body. Release on an in inhalation, by looking forward as you step or jump the feet forward between the hands. Exhale into Deep Forward Fold, head toward the knees, and then inhale and raise the arms and upper body back up to stand in mountain pose.
- Bend the knees in toward the chest
- Take knees to the floor, buttocks high in the air, and stretch arms forward.
Effect: strengthening, invigorating
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