Strike a Pose: Downward Facing Dog

Feeling stressed or overwhelmed?
Need an energy boost in the middle of your day?
Want a full body workout in just minutes?

Get Down with Downward-Facing Dog

Dog Pose, aka Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is one of the most widely recognized yoga poses. It is a foundational pose that shows up in nearly every yoga class. Dog pose is also super accessible to children as most kids innately move through this pose when they are transitioning from crawling to standing.

Animal poses are a wonderful way to introduce children to yoga as most kids start learning about animals at an early age. Pretending to be a dog, cat, cow or other animal is relatable and fun, and invites a child's imagination and playfulness.

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How To: Dog Pose

  • Start on hands and knees in tabletop position

  • Walk your hands one hand-length (about 6 inches) forward

  • Tuck toes under and lift hips up and back as far as possible to create a long spine

  • Relax heels gently toward the floor lengthening the backs of the legs

  • Stay for at least 5 cycles of breath

Tips for Mastering Dog Pose:

  • Feel free to keep your knees slightly bent to lengthen spine and move hips away from your hands.

  • Spread your fingers and press through the pads of your fingers, especially thumb and pointer, palms, and the backs of the knuckles to take weight out of your wrists. Evenly distribute the weight across your hands.

  • Wrap your armpits toward the floor to open chest and shoulders and press firmly through your hands to create space in your shoulders, neck and upper back.

  • Track your ears alongside your biceps so your neck is in line with the rest of the spine.

Dog Pose is an energizing and strengthening pose that lengthens the back body while strengthening the core, legs, arms and ankles. There are lots of fun variations - Don't forget to bark and wag your tail!

Variations for Downward Facing Dog:

Once you feel steady in your Downward Dog, try lifting one leg into three-legged dog. Fire up your abdominals to keep your hips level and spine stays long even as you remove one pillar of your balance.

Once you feel steady, open the hip and bend your knee lifting it high toward the ceiling! Keep pressing firmly through your hands to continue to move your hips up and back.

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Partner Downward Dog Poses:

Dogs are said to be "man's best friend" so grab your besties for some partner and group variations. In a group, line up your dog poses side by side to create a long tunnel. One at a time, each friend crawls through and then joins the tunnel at the other side.

Ready for a challenge? Stack your dog poses into a pyramid! Make sure you have a spotter and establish communication before-hand so everyone knows how to safely exit if they get tired.

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There is so much fun to be had in Downward-Facing Dog. Sing, bark, wag your tail, walk or "run" around the room and imagine your are pulling a sled through the snow. The possibilities are endless...how will you make your dog?


 

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Fun downward facing dog variations for kids yoga