Downward Facing Dog
(Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Physical: Opens shoulders, chest, and backs of legs; strengthens upper body and thighs; elongates spine and sides of core; strengthens abs
Emotional: Energizes, reduces fatigue
Rx for: Fatigue, improves mental alertness
1. Start on all fours with your wrists about 6 to 12 inches in front of your shoulders. Separate your knees hip-width apart and curl your toes under.
2. Pushing evenly into your palms, lift your knees off the floor. Lift your sit bones toward the ceiling and push the top of your thighs back so that your body looks like an inverted “V.”
3. At first keep knees bent and heels lifted off the floor. Slowly start to straighten your knees—but don’t lock them.
4. Gently begin to move your chest back toward your thighs until your ears are even with your upper arms; don’t let your head dangle.
5. Keep your hips lifting and push strongly into your hands.
Hint: Not everyone needs to have heels on the ground and straight knees. It’s better to reach the heels away from your head then down which elongates rather than yanks muscles.
Avoid if experiencing glaucoma, inflammatory diseases in the head region, severe hypertension, recent or chronic injury to the head, neck, or spine, or heart condition.