Getting into Downward Dog
Start in table top position with your knees hip width apart, top of the feet flat on the mat behind you and palms flat on the mat directly below the shoulders. Spread the fingers wide and notice how the weight is distributed throughout the hands and into the fingers, maybe you have a sense of feeling strong and supported on the mat here. Ensure the shoulders are relaxed, roll them down away from the ears as you exhale. Ensure the back is level and take an inhale here. As you exhale tuck the toes under the mat coming into a downward dog pose.
In downward dog, don’t worry if you can’t reach your heels down to the mat. If you have a block, book or pillow place that underneath the heels to rest on and if you are feeling very tight in the hamstrings let the knees bend slightly. Keep fingers spread wide and notice how the weight is distributed throughout the hands and into the fingers, maybe it feels different to table top pose, stronger and perhaps more supported?
As you push into the hands imagine you are trying to get your chest to your thighs and allow your head to rest in between the arms. Notice the shift in weight from the hands to the heels as you keep the tail bone lifted and you allow your head to relax between your arms. Support the back by keeping the tummy area hollow, sucking it in. Make sure your back is straight and elongated; there shouldn’t be a hollow back. If you do notice your back starts to droop, remember to suck the belly in and allow the head to fall in between the arms, keeping the collarbones wide.
Start to explore your breath in downward dog; as you inhale feel the ribs in the back open and the upper back rise. On your exhale feel the whole body soften deeper into the pose. Notice where most of the breath is focused, it perhaps in the chest, ribs and upper body.