The best posture to transition to downward facing dog from is high plank. With your wrists aligned under your shoulders, your belly button pulled up and in toward your spine and your tail forming a straight line with your shoulders (no sagging but don’t stick your butt up in the air either!), push the palm into the mat while you lift from the mid-ribs. If you need to, you can drop your knees to the floor before you transition up. Pushing your weight back toward your hips and into the backs of your legs, create an inverted “V” with your body. Release any tension in the head and neck by softening them and letting the crown melt toward the mat. Your shoulder blades should be down away from the ears and on the back. Softening your heart toward the thighs, inwardly rotate and engage the inner thighs, as if you are pressing them toward the wall behind you. Your heels may or may not touch the mat. You can “pedal” out your dog by alternating stepping one heel down and then the other.
Once you are comfortable in downgrading facing dog, you can move your body in several different ways. You can:
- 1. Raise up onto the balls of the feet and press the sides of your feet both to the right and then up and to the left.
- 2. Lower the knees to about 2-3 inches above the mat for core work.
- 3. Bring one hand into the middle of the posture onto the mat and use the other hand to grab around the opposite ankle. Once you are secure, bring the head under and through the opening taking a twist.
- 4. You can lift a leg into three legged dog. From here you can also:
a. Lower your knee to either elbow or toward the nose for crunches.
b. Open the hip by bending the knee and pressing the heel toward the opposite ear. (You can flip your dog from this posture so long as you don’t have shoulder injuries.)
c. Move into a standing posture like a warrior or crescent lunge or lizard posture.
For a modification, you can stay in tabletop. Many of the add-ons can also be modified from there. Don’t forget to breathe!