#FundamentalsFriday: Down Dog Edition

Posted on Apr 10, 2020

So, the world is on lockdown and you finally have time to do all the things you said you’d do “someday.” Welp my loves, looks like we’ve run out of excuses. “Someday” is here and, for all my newbie/restarting yogis who aren’t quite sure where to begin, as well as those who are ready to dig a bit deeper, I gotchu covered.

Every #FundamentalsFriday, I’m breaking down the how-tos of another yoga pose. Not just where your hands and feet should land, but the push-pull dynamic of the energy in your body…and some tips to help you get there!

TODAY’S SHAPE: DOWNWARD FACING DOG

Downdog Alignment Cues

  1. Start with a plank pose (top of a push-up) and align your wrists directly beneath your shoulders. Walking your feet back until your hips are level with your shoulders, separating your feet about hip-width distance apart.
  2. Engaging your navel and pulling your abs in towards your spine, imagine that your hips are being pulled back and up toward to the sky. Without moving your hands or your feet, try to make your body into an upside-down-V until your shoulders get as close as they can to framing your ears.
  3. Once you’re there, come to your tiptoes and lift your hips as high as you can. Bending your knees into your chest, continue to press into your palms, chest towards your thighs to open your shoulders. Keep lifting your hips until you find a tiny arch in your lower back that tilts your pelvis towards your head. Maintaining that lift in your hips, slowly descend your heels towards the mat until your legs are as straight as they’ll go. See video if you need a visual. Repeat this a few times, creating space in the shoulders and the lower back, each time allowing those heels to descend a millimeter closer to the mat.
  4. Now that you’re in the shape, lets talk about energy it takes to hold this:
    1. Front body engagement: abs are pulling in, quads (think knees) pulling up.
    2. Back body elongating and releasing: spine extends hips higher on the inhale, heels continue to descend on the exhale.
    3. Pelvis continues to tilt up and lift as torso presses towards the thighs, arms continually trying to extend and frame your ears.
    4. Wide palms slightly rotate away from each other: thumbs going forward, pinkys towards the mat edge. Think about rotating the eyes of your elbows forward – this allows your shoulder rotation to expand your collarbones rather than closing off your chest.

**Please note**
Your back may never straighten, your knees might always be bent, your heels might linger 6 inches above the mat…all of this is normal and absolutely “acceptable.” Whats important is the engagement and the energy your feel in your body, not what it looks like. I promise.

Questions? Reach out, I’m more than happy to help!