Saturday, March 14, 2015

Namasaturday 07: Back to basics, Downward Dog

Welcome to the first NamaSaturday link up! I can't wait to read yoga posts from all sorts of bloggers.

For this weekend I thought I'd take us back to basics and spend some time talking about Down Dog.

Adho Muka Svanasana or downward-facing dog pose.

Have you ever wondered were this head down, hips up pose gets it's name? Like many asanas named after animals, you only have to look at a dog stretching to see the likeness.

Following our furry friends' example, we can strive to reach our chest back, our hips up and our heels down.

When I first began practicing yoga, I was shocked to hear this posture referred to as a resting pose and dreaded when instructors would count slowly through the five holding breaths here during sun salutations. Often resorting to child's pose, my arms and wrists aching from the effort of pushing my weight back and up. My heels nowhere near the floor.

Over time however, as my strength increased, and I learnt how to ground my whole hand, pushing into the mat with each of my fingers, evenly distributing the weight, this pose did in fact become a resting place. In fact, often during flow-style classes, by the end of each pose you can't wait to stretch and lengthen back out into down dog.

(I should really be drawing my lower belly in further, but the sand was washing out from under my hands in front of me, making balancing interesting!)

Downward dog is the perfect example of how everything in yoga seems to work. At first you hold a new posture and it seems impossible, difficult, unimaginable that you would ever find comfort or rest in it, let alone reach its deepest expression. However, after days and days spent in practice, carefully breathing through the discomfort, one day you suddenly find the ease, and the pose opens up like a lotus.

Now I just need to keep this in mind next time I work on my Hanumanasana.

Now for the link up.

Please for this, the first week of our link up here, please feel free to share any post you have written on your blog about yoga.

And then take some time to read and comment on some of the other posts.

If you would like to write a new post, here's your prompt.

What does downward facing dog mean to you?


  1. Downward dog is still brutal for me. I laughed when they said it was a resting pose. My heels are nowhere near the ground, and I can't get any weight onto the pads of my palms, or my fingers. But I keep hoping. I used to hate tree as well, and it's become one of my all time favourites!

  2. One of my fitness goals for the past few years has been to get my heels down to the ground for downward dog. I'm still working on it and have a long way to go. I definitely do feel the rest now though, which is amazing.

    Thanks for hosting this linkup. I will be sharing my post early next week and hoping thats not too late. Just didn't get to it sooner.