Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog pose) is probably the most overused and the most underused pose at the same time. Many vinyasa-style yoga practices are dog-heavy, meaning that the students come back to the pose many times throughout the practice. And because of that we might end up doing this pose “in passing” which means breezing through it without really getting the full benefit. And, of course, if the rest of your practice is demanding for the shoulders, multiple Downward dogs are more likely to stress the tired joints. The solution here, of course, is moderation, and taking time to explore this pose for its own benefit.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog pose)
Main purpose: To lengthen the spine (while maintaining the integrity of the spinal curves).
Secondary purpose: To stretch and strengthen the musculature that binds the shoulder girdle to the spine; to stretch the backs of the legs.
Whatever we choose to do in this pose, we need to keep its primary purpose in mind and adapt the position of the body to make it possible. We also need to be able to bring this pose to life with the breath (video —>).
Below are few short videos of different pose adaptations and pose combinations to play with (just be sure NOT to do them all in one practice! 🙂 )