Do you recall your elementary schoolteachers telling you to put your head on your desks? Yes, I do. It was a long time ago, but I still remember it as a way to give rowdy children a moment of calm. Our rowdiness may not be a problem for yoga practitioners. However, a few minutes of meditation in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose), can be a great way to reduce stress and calm your busy brain.
Yoga poses that support the head are a great way of calm your nervous system. Yoga Blocks are great for supporting the head in forward bends like Paschimottanasana, Gomukhasana, and Upavista Konasana. These poses can be sequenced towards the end of a practice to help you relax into Savasana (Relaxation pose). Similar principle: Keeping your forehead down can help calm your mind.
DOWNWARD FACING DOG POSE: OLD POSE, NEW TRICK
The downward facing dog pose is a symbol of yoga practice. It is something that almost everyone, regardless of whether they do yoga, knows. It’s easy to take it for granted. It may seem simple, but it is actually very complex.
Adho Mukha Svanasana can be used as an inversion, arm balance, or forward bend. It strengthens your shoulders, opens your shoulders and lengthens your spine. It calms and revitalizes. Dog Pose can be used by both dogs and cats as a wake-up call. It clears away sleep-related mental and physical cobwebs.
You can transform your Dog Pose into a restorative one by adding a Yoga Bolster. The Supported Downward Facing dog pose is great for preparing your body to practice restorative yoga. The pose can be used to calm and nourish your brain during the workday. You can also practice the pose before bed to help calm your mind and release muscle tension.
PRACTICE IN DOG POSE
Although it may seem simple, Downward Facing Dog Pose can be dangerous. You should not practice the pose if you have any of the following conditions:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Detached retina
- High blood pressure uncontrolled
- Problems with discs
- Recent eye surgery
HOW TO PRACTICE SUPPORTED D DOWNWARD FACING DOG POS
- Grab your props: A Yoga Mat and two Blocks as well as a Standard Yog Bolster.
- Place your bolster at the end of your mat, lengthwise.
- Bharmanasana (Tabletop Pose), is a position that you can do on your mat. Place your palms below your shoulders.
- Toes should be turned under. Now, lift your ischial tubes (aka “sit bone”) towards the ceiling. If you are able to do this without rounding your back, don’t try to ground your heels.
- Your forehead should be on the bolster. Adjust the bolster back or forward to make your head and neck feel more comfortable.
- If your head is not touching the bolster, you can return to Tabletop Pose by placing two yoga blocks at their lowest point under each end. Return to the original pose.
- Allow your forehead to relax into the bolster.
- Take 5-10 deep breaths and relax on every exhalation.
- Once you are ready to let go of the pose, bend your knees for a few seconds and then stretch into Balasana (Child’s Pose).