How to do Downward Facing Dog

One of the most-recognized yoga poses, Downward-Facing Dog — Adho Mukha Svanasana — energizes and rejuvenates the entire body.

DownwardFacingDog

Cautious: Do not practice if you have severe carpal tunnel syndrome or are in late-term pregnancy.

Instructions:
1. Begin in Table Pose, on your hands and knees. Wrists should be parallel with the top edge of mat; Middle fingers should point directly to the top edge of your mat. With feet hip-distance apart, exhale and lift your knees off the floor. Gently begin to straighten the legs, but do not lock your knees. As you lengthen your spine, lift your sit bones up toward the ceiling. Press down equally through your heels and the palms of your hands.
2. Firm the outer muscles of your arms and press your index fingers into the floor. Lift from the inner muscles of your arms to the top of your shoulders. Draw your shoulder blades into your upper back ribs and down towards your tailbone. Relax your head between your upper arms, but do not let it dangle.
3. Hold for 5-100 breaths. Gently bend your knees with an exhalation and come back into Table Pose to release.

Alignment Tips
1. Hands should be shoulder distance apart.
2. Feet are hip distance apart.
3. Activate your arms.
4. Upper arms externally rotate – this will also keep your shoulders away from your ears, giving more space in the neck.
5. Neck and head continue along the same line as the spine.
6. Firm shoulder blades and broaden across the upper back.
7. Engage the lower belly by drawing the navel in towards the spine.
8. Bend knees a little (or a lot) and send the sit-bones and tailbone up and back.
9. Inner thighs rotate inwards as you firm the outer thighs.
10. Straighten legs without changing the shape in the spine or pelvis.

Dawn