Adho Mukha Svanasana / down face dog

This pose is very absorbing as there are many layers to it physically. It is ideal for realignment after a twist.

  1. Come onto your hands and knees with your hands placed level with each other, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Check that both of your middle fingers face forwards and your feet are hip-width apart, then push up to form a triangle shape with the sitting bones at the apex.
  3. Push from the front to the back, drawing back along the side ribs to the hips.
  4. On the in breaths, make better contact with your palms, on the out breath suck the palms into the floor and deepen your armpits, releasing your head from its roots.
  5. As you draw your legs back, focus particularly on drawing back and up from the patella (kneecaps) so that a bigger movement backwards can be afforded to the thigh bones at their head (top).
  6. Continue to bring the palms into better contact with the floor, drawing the armpits in deeper while releasing the neck more from its roots.

DURATION: Stay in the pose anything from 10 seconds to a minute

FOCUS: Focus on the breath and on greater extension through the waist, lifting up onto the heel of the hands. Extend more deeply through the armpits and release the head and neck further. The subtlety in both working from the arms through the ribs to the legs, and keeping and increasing the release of the neck, means that the mind begins to break things down and work on things individually, and less as a solid wall of experience, giving the practitioner more of a sense of depth and richness to all aspects of his or her life.

Quotes

Like a firmament, devoid of edge or centre,
Meditate on vastness and infinity.
To understand the innate truth,
Unite skill and wisdom.

Like the sun and moon in all their glory,
Mediate clearly without darkness,
Knowing that all beings are your parents,
Love and show compassion to them.

— Milarepa