3 Tips To Master Down Dog
Down-dog is one of the most common and frequent poses you will see in any vinyasa, power or flow yoga class. When I first started practicing this style of yoga down dog was my nemesis, now – it’s my all time favourite pose. It Almost every new student I get in my class finds this inverted V-shape challenging. If you want to change your relationship with down-dog from love to hate, here are some really simple tips to get you there.
+ Use a good quality mat
This is by far, my biggest and most instant tip for creating a better feeling down dog. Have you ever had the feeling that your hands are slipping forward in your down dog no matter how many muscles you engage? Well, it could be your mat. For a really good quality mat, you will end up spending between $60-100, but even with regular use your mat should last you for years. I am still practicing on a $60 mat from 2009. However, if you skimp and get a cheap plastic mat, your hands will slip no matter how skilled you are.
My top picks are for a good quality mat are:
– The Mat – by Lululemon
– Eko Lite – by Manduka
– Harmony Professional Yoga Mat – by Jade
+ If your hamstrings are tight, bend your knees
Let’s face it, for most of us, especially those new to yoga, we have hamstrings that are on the tighter side. That’s ok! Practicing yoga regularly can really help to open up tight muscles – but if you are finding its hard to get your heels to the floor in down dog, bend your knees. I know it sounds counterintuitive but tight hamstrings can cause rounding through the spine and an excessive amount of pressure on the shoulders and wrists in down dog. Bend those knees darling – your wrists will thank you.
+ Press your weight back into your legs
This point runs on from the last one – if your hamstrings are tight more of your body weight will be forward in your shoulders and wrists. With the knees bent, focus on pushing the mat away from you without moving your hands. This will shift the weight back in to your legs and take the pressure out of your hands. Once you can keep the weight back in your legs, from there you can start to straighten your legs. As soon as you notice that straightening your legs pushes your upper body forward, stop, that’s your edge. Eventually, your heels will touch the mat, with your spine straight, but be patient.
So what are you waiting for – get on your mat already, and start rocking out a kick-ass down dog!