August 2019 Pose of the Month: Downward Facing Dog

Our August 2019 pose of the month is Adho Mukha Svanasana. The dog days of summer are the best days to down dog!

This pose is one of the foundational poses of our yoga practice and easily recognizable even by those who have yet to practice yoga. Let’s do this!

1 Come to your hands and knees. Align your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. The fold of your wrists should be parallel with the top edge of your mat.

2 Stretch your elbows and relax your upper back.

3 Point your index finger directly toward the top edge of your mat and splay your fingers wide apart. Spread Press firmly through your palms and knuckles, particularly index finger and thumb. Distribute your weight evenly across your hands without dumping into your wrists.

4 Exhale as you tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Reach your pelvis up toward the ceiling, then draw your sit bones toward the wall behind you. Gently begin to straighten your legs, but do not lock your knees. Bring your body into the shape of an upside down V. Imagine your hips and being pulled backwards and lifted upwards from the top of your thighs. Do not walk your feet closer to your hands — keep the extension of your whole body.

5 Press the floor away from you as you lift through your pelvis. As you lengthen your spine, lift your sit bones up toward the ceiling. Now press down equally through your heels and the palms of your hands.

6 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 both shoulders. Draw your shoulder blades into your upper back ribs and toward your tailbone. Broaden across your collarbones.

7 Rotate your arms externally so your elbow creases face your thumbs.

8 Draw your chest toward your thighs as you continue to press the mat away from you, lengthening and decompressing your spine.

9 Engage your quadriceps by lifting your knee caps. Rotate your thighs inward as you continue to lift your sit bones high. Sink your heels toward the floor.

10 Align your ears with your upper arms. Relax your head, but do not let it dangle. Gaze between your legs or toward your navel.

11 Hold for 5 breaths.

12 To release, exhale as you gently bend your knees and come back to your hands and knees.

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