Pose of the Month - Downward Facing Dog

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Sirius, a star in the constellation Canis Major, is the brightest star in the Earth’s night sky. In mid-July through August Sirius comes in conjunction with the Sun, during some the most humid and sultry days of the year. It used to be thought that when the “Dog Star” aligned with the Sun that they combined their energy to make the weather even hotter. While we now know this isn’t true the term stuck which is why we are in the "Dog days of summer." In honor of the dog star we are “Sirius”ly loving Downward Facing Dog or “Adho Mukha Svanasana.” Known as a resting pose (for those who have opened the body to proper alignment,) this asana is both calming and cooling, making it a great pose to beat the summer heat!

How to get into Adho Mukha Svanasana safely:

1. Hands are shoulder width apart and feet are hip width apart.
2. Root through the balls of the feet and the palms as the hips lift and the body becomes an inverted V shape making sure that the wrist creases line up with the front edge of the mat.
3. Press the palms firmly into the ground and spread the fingers wide. The index finger and thumb will root and the wrists will remain strong.
4. Lift from the navel center and lengthen the spine.
5. Draw the kneecaps up as the thighs engage and rotate internally.
6. Pull the navel in and up toward the ribcage.
7. Rotate the upper outer arms in towards each other and roll the shoulder blades down the back, away from the ears.
8. Extend the tailbone away from the crown of the head and reach the sitting bones up.
9. Gazing through the legs or toward the navel, the breath should be slow and steady.

To modify the pose:

Use a block between the thighs to find a slight internal rotation in the thighs, keep the knees bent, or secure a strap around the arms just above the elbows. If going inverted is not in your practice, place the hands on the wall and step the feet out until you feel the stretch in your spine and the back of the legs.

Cautions and Contraindications:

Carpal tunnel syndrome, diarrhea, pregnancy (late-term), high blood pressure, and headache.


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