The Ultimate Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog on Adho Mukha Savanasana is such a yoga staple. It is one of the most recognisable yoga postures and there isn’t a yoga practitioner around who doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) train this one daily. It’s there in the sun salute, so you really have no excuse. This asana is excellent for all sorts of things and can help calm the mind and relieve stress. It’s great for stretching out the shoulders, calves and hamstrings and general strengthening. It’s also purportedly great if you suffer high blood pressure, asthma, sciatica and can relieve menopausal symptoms. The calming effect on the mind can help with insomnia and the stretch into the arches of the feet helps people with flat feet. The list of goods for this posture simply go on and on.
But you knew all that already, didn’t you? Of course you did. Anyway in an effort to remind myself how great this posture is, I’ve put together the ultimate list of Downward Facing Dog examples on the web. If I’ve missed any out, drop me a comment and a link and I’ll update this post now and then to include new and noteworthy examples.
A great youtube video of Esther demonstrating downward facing dog – this is why the internet is great – online Yoga tuition. Great important point in this video that you shouldn’t compensate in the back when doing the pose even if you keep the knees bent! You can see more yoga videos on Esther’s yogatic.com yoga blog which has lots of tips from yoga for runners to yoga for weight loss.
On train2move there is a nice comparrison picture of 2 versions of downward facing dog to show how the pose can be used to find where our hips are weak – again the emphasis is on getting a nice flat back.
Here’s a great picture from Tranquility Now reporting on yoga in the street with everyone doing downward facing dog. The scene is from Garden State Yoga who staged an outdoor exhibition of yoga during rush hour in Bloomfield Centre.
If you missed Elsie’s Yoga Kula from my last list of meditations to kick off your new year’s yoga practice, don’t skip her this time – her site is awesome, with so much good content and information. No downward facing dog post would be complete with her fine example above.
Abby over at her blog Perusals & Peregrinations (what a great name for a blog) gives some great advice on downward facing dog. This one really hit home with me because it was something I was working on:
press the weight of the hands into the mat through the thumb and the first and second knuckles of the fingers. This will help take the weight out of the wrists
Go read the rest of her post for more of her ideas. And while you’re there look at the rest of her blog.
How can you resist a post entitled House Breaking the Dog? Not me and certainly not you – you are going to click that link because Brenda’s blog is just good fun to read. An advocate of “common sense yoga”, you can’t help but enjoy reading about her variations on downward facing dog – especially good because she reminds us that it is about lengthening the legs rather than getting the heels flat on the floor.
On the accidental yogist’s blog, downward facing dog is one of the poses that helps boost productivity. Some great advice and a quick overview of how to do adho mukha savanasana
getting on your hands and knees, making sure that your legs are hip width apart and arms are shoulder width apart. Inhale and curl your toes under as you would if you were standing on your toes. Exhale and straighten your legs while pushing up with your arms, lengthening your spine while keeping your feet flat on the floor
The downward facing dog splits – a lovely variation from Candace Morano, reported on the Calming Corners blog – this one is great for hips, bums and outer thighs.
Taking a leaf out of man’s best friend’s book, here’s a nice post on It’s All About Yoga with a gem hidden inside a small vignette about stretching out after being in and out of the car all day.
I love the feeling when I finally do let the ground support me and relax into the stretch
I’ve bolded the bit I thought was pure gold in that post. Too often we try and fight against gravity and the ground when really we should just accept it and let it do its magic.
Photo by anitacanita
For a bit of fun, YogaDawg has a great example of downward facing dog, beautifully demonstrated by lawn furniture. This is what those lawn chairs do while you’re out at work. I mean after all, they carry your weight all the time, so they need to stretch out don’t they?
Downward Dog to High Lunge on Rand(Om) Bites</a«/h3>
I know, it’s an old post, but for beginners, sometimes the simplest looking things in the sun salute are the hardest. I like this post on Rand(Om) Bites because it reminds me that we all start less than graceful, even in the most fundamental of yoga sequences and asanas.
Here’s a very detailed post about hands and fingers in Adho Mukha Svanasana. Starting with the idea that we shouldn’t just let the weight sit on our wrists, instead, we should let it spread evenly through the whole hand. Go read the post, it has some nice tips on keeping the weight correctly aligned through the hands and fingers.
Remembering to take your training with you off the mat is great, but sometimes we need a little help – the downward facing dog dishcloth is perfect for helping out when the tedium of doing the dishes rears it’s ugly head 🙂
The Ultimate Downward Facing Dog
You will not find a better example of downward facing dog than this one.
I hope you enjoyed looking through all those posts about adho makha savanasana. This post is a work in progress, so as I find new inspiration on downward facing dog, I’ll post them here. If you have any posts you think should be added to the list, send them my way in the comments!