Downward-Facing Dog/Adho Mukha Svanasana
A wonderful warm up pose to be done before or between asana, from the chair to the mat and many places in between. A version for each and every student meeting them exactly where they are on each day of their practice.
Begin in Child’s pose stretching the arms straight out in front of you with your hands shoulder width apart. Spread your fingers out and root down firmly with the palms into the floor, keeping your arms straight by anchoring our hands down and drawing the muscles up your arms from your wrists into your shoulders.
While maintaining the position of your hands, come up onto your hands and knees into table pose and tuck your toes under.
Exhale as you lift your hips and straighten your legs, shifting your weight back onto your legs and stretch your heels towards the floor (although they may not touch and do not have to touch).
Lengthen from your heart down through your arms and up to your tailbone. Press your thigh bones back into your hamstrings. Keeping the toes spreading, root from your tailbone down through your legs to bring your heels toward the floor.
Relax your head and neck towards the floor as your spine lengthens. Visualize your body making an upside down V shape.
Hold the pose for 1-3 minutes.
Physical Benefits: Improves digestion. Relieves insomnia, menstrual and menopausal discomfort and low back pain. Stretches the palm, chest, back, calves, and feet. Energizes the body. The quadruceps are strengthened while the hamstrings are fully stretched.
Mental Benefits:Improves focus. Develops willpower Stimulates the mind, Relieves stress and mild anxiety.
Counter Pose: Child’s Pose/ Balasana
Adaptations/Variations: Wrists can be supported by a rolled up towel under allowing the fingers to rest on the floor. If the hamstrings are very tight you can have a micro bend in the knees.
Contraindications: Carpal tunnel syndrome. High blood pressure, Headache.Bent knees suggested if one has sciatica.