Dissecting your Downward Dog: Don’t get bitten by bad form.

Yoga can give you many positive health effects, including increased flexibility and strength, reduced stress, and improved concentration. But without proper form and technique, your good efforts could result in an injury.

Downward Dog is a common yoga pose. Since it requires shoulder and spinal flexibility, a warm up is recommended.

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Begin with the Child’s Pose.

• Sit on your heels and bend forward until your belly touches your thighs.

• Reach your arms forward to stretch your shoulders, and keep you head relaxed on the floor.

• Take 5 to 10 deep breaths while in this pose.

Once your shoulders and spine feel warm, move on to the Downward Dog Pose.

• Start on your hands and knees. Position your hands slightly in front of your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.

• Spread your fingers, with your index fingers parallel or slightly turned out.

• Curl your toes under, inhale as you lift your knees off the floor keeping them bent, then exhale to push your hips up and back.

• Beginners, keep your knees bent and heels off the floor.

Perfect your Downward Dog Pose:

• Keep equal weight between your hands and feet.

• Press firmly through your index finger and thumb.

• Separate the shoulder blades and press them toward your buttocks.

• Reach your buttocks to the ceiling, without collapsing through your shoulders.

• Slowly reach the heels to the ground by straightening the knees, but be sure not to lock the knees!

• Roll the upper thighs inward slightly and engage though the lower abdominals and pelvic region.

Once you’ve found your perfect Downward Dog Pose, take 5 to 10 deep breaths and enjoy the moment. Always remember the importance of proper form and technique in yoga. Doing so will help you achieve an active and injury-free life.

Namaste

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