It's the New Year of the dog, and we're going back to basics: introducing the downward-facing dog, or downdog for short. We're taking the most fundamental pose of any yoga class and stripping it down. "Downdog, piece of cake!", you think? Well, it does appear to be the case, but it's actually one of the most challenging poses to hold when done right.
Want to nail this pose? Here are some tips and tricks to keep your downdog in check:
Place your hands shoulder-width apart. Spread your fingers, keeping the index fingers pointing forward. Ground down through the four corners of the palms and each fingertip to protect your outer wrists.
Internally rotate your arms to feel as if you're wrapping a block in between the insides of your elbows.
Make sure that the eye of the elbows (that bend on the inside) are facing each other and not the ceiling.
Feet should be hip-width apart, with the outer edges parallel to each other.
For rookies or those with tight hamstrings, don't be afraid to soften those knees to protect the lower back. Remember – your heels don't have to touch the ground. Never compromise on your form just to get those heels down – they will happen one day!
Make sure you feel like you're grounding down as opposed to staying up on the balls of your feet or on your tippy toes.
Shoot your hips up towards the back of the ceiling, and push your thigh bones back to ground down more.
Relax your shoulders away from your ears, keep the neck long, and gaze towards your feet.
Engage your abdominal muscles to avoid collapsing in the lower back.
Ultimately, you should look like an upside-down V shape.
Never thought that a basic pose would be this tough, huh! If you ever need a reminder of how challenging a fundamentals class can be, hit us up at our Basics class (click here to book).