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:

  1. Make sure your feet are directly under your hips and are hip distance apart.
  2. Make sure to lengthen your back before folding at the hips.
  3. Make sure your hands are placed, on the wall or on a chair, shoulder distance apart and in line with your torso.
  4. 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.

Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra Two:Sacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
Chakra Three:Solar Plexus, Self-Power, or Manipura (lustrous gem) Chakra. This is the combustion, power, and energy chakra. Its goals are vitality, strength of will, and purpose. Its location is the solar plexus.
Chakra Four:Heart, Love, or Anahata (Unstuck) Chakra. This is the love and equilibrium chakra. Its goals are balance, compassion, and acceptance. Its location is the heart.
Chakra Six:Third-Eye or Ajna (to perceive) Chakra. This is the intuition and projection chakra. Its goals are psychic perception and imagination. Its location is the brow.

VataThis dosha is balanced in this asana.
PittaThis dosha is increased in this asana.
KaphaThis dosha is increased in this asana.

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