Downward Facing Dog is arguably one of the most fundamental poses in yoga. It connects us to the earth, our breath and invigorates our central nervous system. It’s a healing, strengthening pose that activates the core, legs, and shoulders as it decompresses and elongates the spine.
Not the best down dog, but Blueberry wanted to be in the shot, which makes this a winner.
Downward Facing Dog/Adho Mukha Svanasana (AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna) as it’s called in Sanskrit.
- Facing down on your mat, place your hands shoulder-width distance apart.
- Spread your fingers wide and align your wrists so they’re parallel with the front of your mat.
- *Depending on your wrist health, it may help to externally rotate your wrist creases so your index finger is facing straight ahead.
- Root all ten knuckles down, especially your index fingers and thumbs.
- Send your tailbone up and back, creating an upside down V shape with your body.
- Draw your belly button toward your spine to engage your abdominal wall.
- Set up your feet hip-width distance apart.
- Bend your knees generously to allow your spine to lengthen (this is especially important early on in your practice and if you have tight hamstrings).
- Press your torso toward your thighs and comb your front ribs in.
- Draw your shoulders away from your ears.
- Wrap your triceps toward your midline and spin your biceps toward the front of your mat.
- Firm your thighs and begin to press your heels down toward the earth (this is an energetic movement – you may not make heel to mat contact and that’s okay).
- Lengthen the back of your neck – avoid tucking your chin.
- Place feet wider than hip-width distance to give your lumbar spine more space.
- Bend your knees for more spinal decompression.
- Set up your hands wider than shoulder width to create more space for your shoulder girdle.
- Keep a slight bend in your elbows to avoid hyperextension.
- Strengthens core, shoulders, arms, and wrists.
- Elongates spine.
- Downward facing dog connects us to the earth, both through our hands and our feet. It creates length in our spine and wakes up the entire body. When you stay in this pose for a couple of minutes and you bring your attention to your inhale and exhale, notice how your mind shifts. Does it go from restless to calm? When you need a break, rest in child’s pose with your arms forward and slightly bent, your knees as wide as your mat, your big toes touching, and your forehead resting on your mat. Then, go back into downward facing dog. Continue to engage your breath and notice the quality of your thoughts.
- When you come into downward facing dog, you activate your root chakra (also known as Muladhara). This is the first of 7 main chakras in the energetic body, located at the base of your spine. The color of this chakra is red. This chakra represents our most basic need for home, stability, safety, and connectedness. You also activate your third chakra, Manipura. This chakra is located at the navel, just above the solar plexus. The lumbar spine (lower back), abdominal wall and internal organs (including liver, stomach, spleen, and pancreas) are key players in this chakra. The color of this chakra is yellow. “Activation of the Manipura Chakra frees one from negative energies and purifies and strengthens one’s vitality.”
- Just like all poses in yoga, when the connection between your physical body, your energetic body and your breath become your focus, this allows you to create a healthy distance between your higher self (your consciousness) and your thoughts. Your perspective shifts and you become more engaged in the present moment.
Gumsaba Fitness Class schedule Monday 11/23/15
5:30AM Sunrise Danville Womens class – Coach Briana – Partner SHOWDOWN!
5:30AM Sunrise Danville Mens class – Coach Joel – Partner SHOWDOWN!
6AM Sunup Morga Womens only Class – Coach Michelle – Partner SHOWDOWN!
8:15AM Sunrise Moraga Womens only Class – Coach Michelle & Coach Joel – TRX PARTNER HIIT!
9AM Sunshine Walnut Creek Womens only class – Coach Briana – Partner SHOWDOWN!
9:15 AM Rose Court Private Class – Coach Jentry – Partner SHOWDOWN!
11:00AM Cytosport Boot camp Lite Benicia – Coach Michelle (private class) Partner SHOWDOWN!
12:00PM Cytosport Boot camp Benicia – Coach Michelle (private class) Partner SHOWDOWN!
2PM Cytosport Vinyasa Flow Yoga – Coach Michelle D (private class)