A pose to strengthen the whole back of the body – Adhomukha Shvanasana

Adhomukha Shvanasana is downward facing dog, which fits in many types of yoga practices and it is repeated many times as a part of transition pose in primary series. It is important to do it properly with enough self-study of our own body and feeling.

  1. Start from the previous position (ie. upward facing dog) or from hands-keen down position
  2. Firm palms on the ground and roll the shoulder away from ears by lateral rotating the triceps. Medially rotate the forearms, press palms in pronation and protract the shoulder to push the body backward  and transport the strength/weights of body from end of palm to shoulders. Feel the strength in the shoulder.
  3. Lift up the hips and lengthen the spine first by tighten the belly and push the hip back forward further. Neutralize the spine and feel the strength from shoulder to the end of spine which is tail bone. Ensure the alignment among the neck, spine, tail bone and middle of the hip. Feel the squeezing between the belly and thigh and up-side down the pelvis area as much as possible without arching the lower back.
  4. Once the spine is felt lengthened and straightened, lift the knee caps and straighten the legs by lifting up the sits bone as higher as possible.
  5. Push palms forward harder to transfer more strength back and press the heels down without compromising the spine.

Key things of this pose: strength in the shoulder and neutral spine, the balance between palm, shoulder, sit one and heels. No hyperextension of legs and arms. For beginners, lift up a little bit heel and focusing on spine and leg. Keep breathing if feel the pain of the hamstring and gluteus muscles.

As an inversion pose, it is also good for circulation while we strengthen the spine, shoulder, arms and legs. It worths to practise more whennever we need it. To me, Yoga is beautiful not because of how pose looks like but because of the micro difference when I adjust my pose to the correct one to achieve the health by proper practice.

 

Ms Wan YH ( 200 Hr Yoga Teacher Training (Ashtanga, Hatha) May 2015)