How to do Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Tuesday, 10 March 2020 17:47
When you first start practicing Adho Mukha Svanasana it can be a challenge, a real challenge….
After time and practice, this intensity tends to dissipate and you’re in the position where you can explore the pose. You can then start to implement refined techniques. The penetration into the asana can be a step towards a deeper understanding of yourself and the connection that the body has with the intellectual, emotional and energetic layers of your being.
BKS Iyengar in Adho Mukha Svanasana in Light on Yoga (1966)
Here are some points compiled by A.H. Mehta from BKS Iyengar’s teaching in 1998 and published in Yoga Rahasya in 2000:

"Watch the joints of your fingers. All the joints should be touching the floor.

Each of the three joints on each of the fingers should be in contact with the floor.
The elbows should be moving towards the upper arm.

Extend the arms in such a manner that the biceps get sucked towards the deltoids.

Move the shoulders towards the waist and the should blades into the body and towards the kidneys so the the armpit is well exposed.

The arch of the foot should be lifted and should be moving towards the heel so that there is heaviness felt on the heel.

The inner and outer ankle should be lifted up.

Adjust the palm in such a manner that from the centre of the palm one feels the energy moving forward towards the tips of the fingers, as well as backwards towards the wrist.

The sensations from the wrist should be ascending up towards the shoulders and then towards the head of the pelvis.

The bottom of the front portion of the rib cage should move towards the back. When this happens, the arm pit ‘opens out’ still further. When this happens, the breathing comes easier.

Feel the sensation in the arch of the foot while extending it towards the heel. When this happens, frontal thigh muscles (quadriceps) start moving towards the back of the thighs.

The attention should be towards the inner ‘head’ of the heel - which should be moving towards the back of the heel.

To descend the heels down, mov
e the head of the shin towards the back of the knee and then lift the kidneys towards the buttocks.

Try to extend extend the chest horizontally.

There should be an even pressure felt on the mounds of the fingers and the mounds of the toes. There should be harmony in all these movements and adjustment, an
d it is this harmony and adjustment that leads to divine state."

See you on the mat :)

Nicole Schroeter
Certified Iyengar Teacher

Yoga Path
An Iyengar Yoga School

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