This Video is part of the series on yoga poses. Also called "Fix Your Downward Facing Dog" In Sanskrit, this post is called "Adho Mukha Shvanasana" and its literal translation is " Adho: down- Mukha: face- Svana-dog and Asana: posture or pose". Its name refers to the fact that this posture is reminiscent of that of a dog stretching looking up. This asana is very frequent in yoga practice and is used to stretch the entire posterior chain.
Downward Facing Dog is a very common and basic yoga pose shared in all yoga styles including: Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kudulini, Yin, Iyengar, power yoga etc.
Here is a list of tips of how to improve your Downward Facing Dog / Adho Mukha svanasana pose:
1. Create a straight line from the fingertips to the tail bone
By creating awareness and focusing on pushing the energy from the floor through the fingertips to the arms, shoulders, spine and tail bone you can create a line of energy and a correct alignment of the upper body.
2. Bend your knees if you have limited range of motion
In many cases the hamstrings (back thighs) are tight and short, this makes performing the pose much more difficult and painful, additionally the concentrating effort in trying to straighten the knees causes us to lose focus on other parts of the body that we need to engage for our Adho Mukha svanasana.
So in order to straighten your back, bending the knees is perfectly fine. Eventually, the knees will follow along and you will be able to do the pose with straight knees.
3. You might want to let go of heels touching the ground
In the beginning due to short calf muscles, it might be hard for you to reach the ground with your heels. Just to be clear we do want eventually to reach the mat or the ground with our knees but not if this comes with a high price is braking the entire posture. Moreover, gravity plays here for our advantage by pushing the heels down, so if your heels are still not touching let time help you and be patient.
4. Push from the shoulders to create a straight line from the arms through the spine
Our shoulder mobility and range of motion is usually limited and most of us cannot create a straight line from our spine to our hands, this takes time and also eventually opens up, however unlike our heels this requires active flexibility and awareness on pushing the shoulder towards our ears.