How to Do Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) in Yoga

Learn the downward facing dog from certified yoga instructor Chelsey Korus in this Howcast video.


So. let's talk about Adho Mukha Svanasana, often times you hear it, downward facing dog. So, it's a alignment in the shoulders that we should cover before we go. So, you're gonna reach over, thumbs out to the sides and reach your palms open. Take one hand for the bicep and externally rotate it. And you can do it the other way too, just to kind of see what that feels like in the shoulder. If it's internally rotated, you'll feel like it starts to roll in. If it's externally rotated, it will actually integrate back in towards you. And that's the more safe way to have your shoulder. So, you want to have that here. And then, you'll just spend the forearm separately from it, and then reach your hand down.

And that's the kind of shoulder that we want to have for, for most of our balancing postures. It's really, a externally rotated shoulder is what gonna be most of time in yoga. For eagle arms, that's when your're gonna internally rotate, but pretty rare. So, you, you want to be able to find if that is the case for you. If you go to do this, and you can't put your hand down, then maybe downward facing dog isn't the pose for you. And I'll show you another modification in place of it. But, so if that's the case, you pass the test and your shoulder can stay externally rotated.

You're gonna set your hands shoulder distance apart. Tuck your toes underneath and walk yourself into, into kinda of, like a, tripod-triangle type of position ,where your hips are up. Not super important that your legs are completely straight, or that your heels are on the floor. And yours might look like, might look like that. And that's, and that's totally, OK.

Eventually you're working the knees to spread the inner thighs back and apart, and then the heels will settle down the floor. As the fingers go, we have this, what is call the triad of the hand, That's the thumb, index finger, and the place in between. That's the part of the, of the posture of the hand that should have the most weight, like, load in the most weight. So, the pinkies get light, and the triad of the hand get, get heavier. So, that is the pose.

In the pose benefits of this posture, your head is dangling below your heart. That's an inversion. So, new oxygenated blood is traveling towards your central nervous system. That's always good. External rotation of the shoulder. Keeping that index finger is nice and heavy. And you just breath, gaze in between your feet, or to the back wall. And that is downward facing dog.

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