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Align your Canine

Let's break it down, dawg.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is one of the most commonly practiced asana in a vinyasa yoga class, so it's normal to settle into habits. Let's take the time to break it down. Here are some common misalignments in dog pose:
Down Dog Misalignments_copy
  • Droopy dog- Chest drops excessivly toward the floor.

This is one of the most common misalignments in downward facing dog. Often people with a lot of mobility in their shoulders, leak their chests down toward the floor. This puts a lot of strain on the shoulder joint. To avoid this: think rather about lifting the forearms up and away from the floor, as you press the tops of your thighs back toward the wall behind you. 

  • Tough Dog- Upper spine rounded, lots of weight in the hands.   

This misalignment often happens when people have too much weight in their hands, and are over compensating for tightness or weakness in other areas of the body. To avoid this: crawl to downward facing dog from a forward fold, try to keep more weight in your feet than in your hands. Perhaps take a slightly longer downward facing dog, and keep a soft bend in the knees as you press the tops of the thighs back into your hamstrings (or the backs of your thighs).

  • Bootylicious Dog- Exaggerated anterior tilt in the pelvis (booty is popping toward the ceiling).

This misalignment often originates from an instructor's well-intentioned cues. Often teachers say: "lift your sit-bones up to the ceiling." This can wreak havoc in extremely mobile bodies, because they can create a pretty serious anterior tilt in the pelvis- which crunches the lower back, and causes the ribs to splay open. If you fall into this "extremely mobile body" category, think of spinning your inner thighs back toward the wall behind you, as you compact your ankles slightly in toward the midline. Then, you can gain length in your side body by lifting the whole pelvis up toward the ceiling, as if someone were drawing the tops of your thighs up and back behind you.  

Join me this Saturday (1/11/14) from 2-4 pm for my "Art of Vinyasa" workshop.  We will break down the mechanics of Downward Facing Dog as well as each component of a Sun Salutation.  To register, visit our website.  

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