Ahdo Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing dog अधोमुखश्वानासन; This is the most frequently used pose in yoga.
Benefits: Stretches and strengthens shoulders, arms, legs, feet, and spine. It is a gentle inversion that brings calming and blood flow to the brain. But one of the coolest things about it is the fact that downward dog stretches the longest contiguous fascia of the back body from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet. Once you become strong and flexible in this asana, it is actually a relaxing pose.
Finding the Asana:
- Warm up with wrist rotations, cat-cow, shoulder rolls.
- From Table Top, stack hips over knees, place hands slightly forward of the shoulders.
- Spread the fingers, with index fingers parallel or slightly turned out and curl the toes under.
- On an exhale lift the hips keeping knees bent finding an inverted V.
- Press back, dropping ankles, and begin straightening the legs.
- Slightly rotate legs inward and upper arms outward. Keep a micro-bend in the knees and elbows.
- Head can be parallel to upper arms, look to navel, or hang down.
- Pedal out the posture by alternately bending each knee if it is the first one of the day.
- The priority is first to form a straight back from tailbone to neck and when that is accomplished to straight legs and then drop heels to the floor.
- Hold for 1-3 minutes. Counter with child’s pose (Balasana).
- Use wider hand position for tight shoulders. Keep spreading the hands further apart until you can comfortably drop the head between the upper arms and press the shoulders back.
- Use blocks, chair, wall or counter to get sensation of weight shift to back of heel. Do a wall dog to help work your way into the down dog by slowly walking your palms down the wall. Use a counter top to help do a shoulder opener.
- Use a wedge, blanket or rolled up mat under the wrists
- Place the heels against a wall or on a block
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Wrist injuries, Osteoporosis, high blood pressure, eye injury