Adho Mukha Svanasana (AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna)
adho = downward
mukha = face
svana = dog
asana = pose
While downward facing dog is considered a resting posture, many find it uncomfortable. Particularly on the wrists. The video below features Brittany (Container Collective Owner) and Stephanie (Yoga Studio Manager) in Lakewood, CO. In this video Brittany and Stephanie highlight some tips and tricks to make downward facing dog more enjoyable while ensuring proper alignment.
At our yoga studio in Lakewood, CO we commonly find that if you have super tight hamstrings, bringing some extra bend into your knees will help you get your armpits closer to your thighs while finding a nice straight spine. With bent knees and a straight spine, push evenly through all four corners of your hands, particularly push through the index finger knuckle. Pushing through the index finger knuckle will help ease wrist pressure and ensure proper upper body alignment.
"Bendier" people tend to end up swaying into their back which creates a curve rather than staying nice and straight. Bendier people should "knit" their ribs together while simultaneously pulling their shoulder blades together on their back. This will help them find a nice, straight back. For their lower body they should also bring a slight bend their knees while moving their sit bones closer to the ceiling.
Hand placement is critical to a structurally sound Downward Facing Dog.
-Hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width.
-Fingers should be spread nice and wide on your mat giving you a strong base to work with.
-Weight should be distributed evenly through all four corners of the palms of your hands.
-Particular attention should be paid to the index finger knuckle. Really anchor this knuckle down to the floor. We commonly see this knuckle lifting off of the floor and this leads to wrist strain and pressure.
-All four corners of your palms pressing into the floor.
-Bring a grip through your finger tips so that your finger tips are anchoring just as much as the corners of your hands.
-With this alignment through your hands you will feel your forearms rotating in with a downward pressure while your upper arms rotate outwards.
Using these tips and tricks should bring added ease to your Downward Facing Dog and ensure happy hands and joints.
Video recorded in the Container Collective Yoga Studio in Lakewood, CO.