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pose guide: downward dog

The basics. A restorative pose, but a powerful pose. Downward dog is a building block for your practice, and getting into this asana with proper alignment will help carry you through the whole vinyasa.
1 | Start by pushing the body into an inverted V shape, either from table top or child’s pose. Then you can prepare to align and sink into it.
2 | Start by looking up at your fingertips and making sure they are firmly planted into the mat. You shouldn’t be able to lift them from the ground, and there can be a small space underneath your fingers. Grip the mat with the hands to protect the wrists.
3 | Now release the head and tap your ears against your arms. Do this each time you come into downward dog and you’ll be sure that you’re keeping your torso and upper body in the proper position. Your gaze should be back between the legs.
4 | The feet can be hip distance apart or closer. Take the sit bones (your bottom) and tilt them up towards the ceiling. This will naturally raise your heels a bit.
5 |  Maintaining that tilt, try to work your heels down towards the mat. To get the most from this pose, keep the feet from connecting all the way to the ground. If your whole foot is on the mat, then widen your V a little so that your heels are lifted.
Each time you move into downward dog, let your body be your guide. There should be no need to adjust the distance of your feet once you step into this pose from plank or chaturanga. Now you have the proper alignment for downward dog! Namaste!
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This entry was posted in: yoga


Chelsea is a marine scientist in Puerto Rico. Her interests include invasive species ecology, fish biology and ecology and marine protected area management. She is a co-founder of the only field course coordination company in Puerto Rico - Isla Mar Research Expeditions.

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