Sunday, June 26, 2011

Support For Your Dog

Our doggy friends instinctively know this stretch is good for them but most of us struggle with adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog) at first.  It's usually the wrists that feel like they are bearing too much weight, and perhaps the shoulders.  Once you learn how to use your hands, forearms, and shoulders correctly this will become less of an issue but, until then--to use that wonderful Sri Lankan turn of phrase-- what to do?

Why not try a supported version of the pose?  You just need a belt and a column to tie yourself to, and you can get a great stretch for your hamstrings, calves, and spine without putting any weight through your wrists at all.  This supported version is fabulous even if you can manage a five minute down dog with ease.  I had forgotten about it until recently when I saw a spate of people with bent up legs and crooked spines, then saw a few people with hand injuries who could not put weight through their arms at all. 

Check out the video below to see how to support your dog.  A word of caution: make sure you are securely tied or you are going to face plant.  If you don't have a belt then use a non-elastic sarong or scarf.  As always, stay there, relax and breathe.  For those of us who have had a long day at the office, a long day of looking after children, a long day of shopping or walking in high heels, or even just a normal, easy-going day, this pose is sure to top it off and leave you feeling longer, calmer, and refreshed.  Have fun!