Here’s a classic pose we all should know and love, Adho Muhka Svanasana, or Downward Facing Dog. This pose is technically an inversion which make it incredibly calming to the nervous system, but also is a strength building pose, especially when held for longer periods of time. Downward Facing Dog is like a homecoming to the seasoned practitioner, promoting a quiet mind and offering the body a chance to recover and rest in between other challenging postures or sequences. For the beginner, it brings us into awareness of our natural strength and ability, as well as shows our bodies how to cultivate more internal support, length and space within the body.
Begin by coming onto the hands and knees. Spread the fingers as wide as possible, creating even space between all of the fingers. Take a deep breath in and with an exhale, lift the knees from the floor and reach the pelvis as high as possible. As you press evenly into the hands, feel the arms and the sides of the body lengthen. As you lift higher through the hips, allow the heels to reach toward the floor, elongating the backs of the legs. Do your best not to collapse in the chest or shoulders, and draw slightly in right below the navel. Breathe deeply and evenly for 3 to 5 rounds, with each breath, allowing the mind to soften.