Yoga for Beginners: How to Do Downward-Facing Dog
Healthy Living

Yoga 101: How to Do Downward-Facing Dog (Video)

Mercy Health | Sep 26 2017

Whether you’re a lifetime yogi or new to practicing, our how-to series will take your yoga postures deeper

Whether you’re taking Bikram or a Vinyasa class, Downward-Facing Dog is one yoga’s most widely practiced poses. Down Dog strengthens, eases transitions, and serves as a place of rest. Mastering it will not only help you avoid injury, but it will make your yoga practice more comfortable and effective.

Done properly, Down Dog strengthens hands and wrists, elongates the spine, and opens the backs of the legs. Because this pose is less complex, it’s also an ideal time to bring awareness to your breath.

To get the most out of Downward-Facing Dog, use these steps in your next class:

  • Begin in a tabletop position. Spread your fingers wide and send your knees three inches behind your hips.
  • Curl your toes under and straighten your legs, lifting your hips to the sky.
  • Bend your knees slightly and reach long with your tailbone, bringing additional length to your spine.
  • As you root your heels into your mat, begin to work your upper body, pressing through your palms.
  • Focus on your breath, counting deep inhales and exhales.

To see Downward-Facing Dog in action, check out this short video, featuring one of Mercy Health’s certified advanced yoga instructors, Mary Geibel. If you’re interested in further deepening your practice, check out a yoga class at a Mercy Healthplex, or stay tuned for additional videos in this series.

Mercy Health

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