This warm-up is a great variation to the traditional Downward Dog asana which is also known as Downward-Facing Dog or in Sanskrit Adho Mukha Śvānāsana (AH-doh MOO-kah Shva-NAAH-sah-nah). You will learn more about this traditional pose in the “Learning the Asanas: Forward Bend” Lesson.
For this variation, your textbook breaks down how to practice this warm-up and explains that this variation is great for students that have wrist problems as it can help them work around that area. The overall benefits of practicing this warm-up are that it opens your shoulders, legs, and back. It also helps to release lower back pain as well as release tension in the neck and shoulders. Due to all of this, this warm-up is great for increasing energy, relieving stress, and reducing anxiety.
Keys to this Warm-Up:
- Make sure your feet are directly under your hips and are hip distance apart.
- Make sure to lengthen your back before folding at the hips.
- Make sure your hands are placed, on the wall or on a chair, shoulder distance apart and in line with your torso.
- Make sure your head is lowered between your arms, with your neck and spine in alignment. so that your torso is parallel to the ground.
Note: If you would like to increase the feel of the stretch in the hamstrings while practicing this warm-up, you can slowly pedal out the feet. Do this by slowly making a slight bend (one at time) at each knee, as if you were riding a bike. This will lift the heals off the floor, but the balls of your feet shoulder remain grounded to the floor. Be sure to keep your hips straight and level with the floor as you do this.
As explained in your textbook “RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR LIFE,” there are chakras that benefit from this warm-up. The dosha balance is also affected. See below for a simple breakdown.
Vata This dosha is balanced in this asana.
Pitta This dosha is increased in this asana.
Kapha This dosha is increased in this asana.