Why I love, love, love Down Dogs

Adho Mukha Svanasana – otherwise known as Downward Facing Dog.

I just love, love, love Down Dogs, and if you are reading this and have attended any of my classes in the past or present you are nodding your head and chanting YES, I KNOW!
I incorporate the asana in all of my classes to link and to create fluidity in our practise. A centredness is sealed. A moment to be on your own. It’s a soothing place, because you can either keep the posture, or you are in a perfect position to surrender to Child.
Where would we be without Sun Salutations in Yoga?
Down Dog creates a bridge in linking so many beautiful combinations of postures and shapes. It’s a link of strength and stability.
Down Dog makes me feel secure and when I want my own internal space, that’s what I do. Those moments where I feel overwhelmed or at times disheartened, my soothing place is upside down.
If you are a yogi who can’t do Down Dogs due to any contraindications, I recommend that the same shift of length and space can be experienced by standing facing the wall, palms outstretched above the shoulders, and extending and lengthening without pressure on the wrists or shoulders. A few of my students will also perform Dolphin Pose on the forearms, as a great variation.
Here are the three most common challenges for students when it comes to Down Dog (and I will be brief!):
1- Holding the weight on the upper body, rather then lengthening
2- Not spreading the fingertips of each hand, not utilising the web of the Hand between the thumb and index finger
3- Not being mindful of the continuous focus of breath and attention to the moment. Mental focus is key.
If you think any of these challenges apply to you, or if you have any further questions about your Down Dog, please approach me before or after class.
Also if injuries are prevalent, do get medical clearance and support from your doctor, physiotherapist, chiropractor, osteopath etc. It’s a long term investment to your health.
I know exactly what it’s like. I experienced a shoulder tear injury 11 months ago and have only recently started feeling  less pain and have better utilisation of my right arm. UUUGHHHH I can still remember that Wednesday afternoon when my dog Jedda took a swipe with her mouth at a small white dog in the park. I did manage to save the dog by pulling on Jedda’s collar – but that meant all 40kg of her wrenched my shoulder. My rehabilitation incorporated physiotherapy, rest, homeopathic remedies, supplements, acupuncture and of course my own Yoga practise. I’m still mindful of what I can and can’t do with my right arm, so please, please, please don’t think that one yoga class a week or fortnight is enough support for healing and strength.
The benefits of inverting our body in Down Dog are skeletal, (hello spinal column), muscular (legs of steel), so rejuvenating for our abdominal organs, and soothing for our nervous system. You can still smile when you’re upside down!!!
See you on your mat, fabulous yogis.