When I came back to practice yoga in 2014 (after my first trial in 2009 and thought yoga is probably not for me), I only went for hot yoga. The reason was so simple – I didn’t feel good doing Downward facing dog! I felt very uncomfortable holding the pose and I didn’t know that I totally did it wrong. In fact, I just understand the correct alignment and do it better at Tirisula and especially during Yoga Teacher Training. With the correct weight distribution and alignment, I don’t feel bad holding the pose anymore!
How to get to the pose:
- Hands shoulder-width apart, spread fingers wide.
- Feet hip-width apart, toes point forward
- Microbend the elbows
- Relax the neck
- Draw shoulders down along the spine. Shoulders are away from ears
- Engage the lower belly and draw the navel back to the spine. Lengthen the spine.
- *Squeeze and Lift the hips up to make the body as an upside down V shape* To me, this helps a lot to distribute the weight equally between hands and feet and this technique helps me to hold longer in the pose and can be rest in the pose.
- Place the heels down on the mat
- Gaze towards the navel
Terms of movement
- Scapula depression
- Arms flexion
- Hips flexion
- Ankle dorsi flexion
- Torso extension
- Knee extension
Muscles used for Downward Facing Dog
- Stretch Gluteus Maximus
- Stretch Latissimus Dorsi
- Contract Abdominals
- Stretch Pectoralis major
- Contract Triceps
- Contract Quadriceps
- Stretch Hamstrings
- Stretch Gastrocnemius and soleus
- Contract Tibialis anterior
I hope my experience of getting into downward facing dog can be useful to someone. Enjoy the pose!