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  • Suzanne Wallace

Adho Mukha Shvanasana

You may ask what is the purpose of a downward dog?

Not only is it an arm balance, but it is also a restoration pose, an inversion, a forward fold but also a foundational pose....a key stone to many poses such as crow, the warriors and Lion lunge.

When in your downward facing dog you are stretching the back body and engaging the front body, energy wise, your core is to the floor.

Downward Facing Dog is an iconic yoga pose and one that most yogis will be introduced to in their first yoga class, however there are several lower variations such as table top, belly of the dragon and crocodile if you wish to gradually introduce Downward facing dog into your practice.

Paul Grilley says

" never compromise the axial skeleton because of poor placement of our hands and feet"

Keeping our hands and feet wide to create a stable base.

No two people will look the same in a pose as our skeletons are unique, therefore your Downward Facing Dog is also beautifully unique.

There are many benefits of being in an inversion (when your head is lower than your heart) You are resting your heart, draining your lungs and bringing fresh blood to the brain and facial tissue, improves circulation, improves digestion are just a few.

When in your yoga practice, it is important to ask yourself "how does it feel" in a pose. When we "check in" with the inner dialogue your body is offering we can transform our sadhana.

The key target areas of this pose is the upper body and back of the body. Strengthens the arms and shoulders. Downward Facing Dog is a pose that we use as a transition in vinyasa and sun salutes. It accesses the fascial connections of the superior backline of the body so stretches the hamstrings and calves too.

Traditionally considered a rest pose, Downward Facing Dog is by no means a chance to relax. From your fingertips to toes there is a multitude of muscle engagements!

I like to find movement in this pose, bending the knees, pedalling the feet, rolling up onto the toes, moving like a wave, finding the fluidity (after all we are 70% water)

Each day, each practice feels different, dance with the movement your breath....

How does it shape your body today?

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