Adho Mukha Svanasana! – Downward Dog……A dog gets up after a rest and slowly stretches. He pushes his rear towards the sky, his head to the ground and elongates the whole spine. This is the pose you all need. It stretches the spine, opens the chest to encourage deeper breathing, strengthens the shoulders, arms and legs, elongates the hamstrings, stimulates the spinal nerves, reduces the workload for the heart and invigorates the whole body! WOW or should I say bow wow…….!!
Start by kneeling on all fours. Hands under shoulders, shoulder width, knees under hips, hip width. Spine long. Inhale spread fingers and tuck toes under as you press your hands into the floor, press against balls of feet and slowly start to take knees off mat and lift hips towards the ceiling until your body resembles a ‘V’ shape. Exhale. The hips are the pivotal point and your legs should feel like they are stretching up towards them and torso down. Press your chest towards your knees, eyes focus on toes, press heels gently downwards towards the floor. Keep breathing deeply and move deeper into the pose with each exhalation.
Depending on your flexibility, you may be able to lower your heels. If not, don’t force but gently press out all the while through the heels even if raised slightly, sometimes walking feet in a little to adjust especially if you are a beginner may help. Stay here for a few breaths, lengthening through the spine and enjoy the stretch. When you need to rest, slowly release by bringing the knees back down to your mat.