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AdhomukhaSvanasana

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(downward facingdog)

AdhomukhaSvanasanais one of the most popular postures in our regular yoga practice with numerous benefits. It has a dual effect of strength building as well as stretching. Along with that, one can also get into many variations making AdhomukhaSvanasanaas the base posture. Practiced in its entirety, it gives the body not only a beautiful physique but at the same time helps deal with a lot of other problems. Let us take a look at its technique in detail. 

Technique

1. Assume Sashankasana (child pose); press your palms firmly on the floor (your hands are in alignment with your shoulders), raise your head up, raise your bent knees up; you are pushing your bent knee up and close to your chest.

2. Maintain the stretch; gradually start opening the back of the knees by making your legs straight. Your heels are off the floor and pointing towards the ceiling; knees are straight and raised up; your quadriceps are raised up; slowly and gradually start pushing your heels down on the floor by keeping the back of the legs completely stretched. Your toes are parallel to the floor and heels a little away from each other so that the heels are in line with your little toe. Keep pressing the outer edges of the heels firmly on the floor.

3. Push the end of the palms; stretch your arms and lengthen it as much as possible; lengthen your armpit; press your chest in towards your thighs, tuck your tummy in towards your pelvic, keep raising your hips up pointed to the ceiling.

4. Each and every part of your body is stretched except the throat muscles; hold the posture with normal breathing and lookat your toes.

Tips

Slowly stretching and opening the back of the legs in this posture helps optimum involvement of the target muscles. 

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Runners can look for

1. Tight calves are one of the downside of regular running and leads to problems,tendonitis being a major one. Getting in the postures with heels high off the floor (you are almost on your toes) and then consciously placing the heels back on the floor by releasing the calf contraction brings great stretch to your calves. Stretching the soles of the feet at the time of placing your heels down gives a good stretch to the calves and at the same time helps stretching the arch of the foot (highly recommended for one with flat foot problem). In case, you are not able to rest your heels on the floor, perform this posture with your heels against the wall and start sliding your heels down with the support of the wall. Eventually, as the flexibility of your hamstrings, calves, and shoulders improves, you'll be able to get your heels and your head to the floor.

Sciatica

2. AdhomukhaSvanasana relieves pain and stiffness in the legs, which are caused due to sciatica.

Arms

3. As you start stretching and lengthening your arms, you can feel the involvement of different muscles of the arms. Regular practice is bound to get strong and toned up arms.

Heels & Ankles

4.  Relieves pain in the heels; and ankles.

Core

5. As you start lengthening your arms, tuck your abdomen in and create a vacuum in your abdominal region keeping it sucked in. Also contract your anus to feel greater control in the mid section while at the same time preparing yourself for moolabandha. This will help not only toning up your core but also help improve digestion.

Miscellaneous

6. With this posture, we see the lengthening effect on diaphragm, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus. Latissimusdorsi is also lengthened.

I have given a detailed description of the asanas. You have a choice of going directly into the asana as you see in the picture. However, if you plan to go slowly as described, you will not only be aware of your muscle involvement but also have a better control during each movement and will thus derive maximum benefits from your practice. Performing a posture slowly is like getting an absolute control on the movements and stability of your body. You can check the videos of this asanas as well on http://www.shammisyogalaya.com

I will touch base with you again in the NEW YEAR . Be ready for detoxification with my next issue, as I know,that the month of December will be heavy on your stomach. Eat wisely, make physical activity a part of your daily life. It can be any activity,which you enjoy. You can test different forms of physical activity at FITFEST, a fitness carnival (unique of its kind) whichwill help you better decide what exactly you would prefer in the form of physical activity. Block your morning of December 6, 2014 with your family by registering at https://www.facebook.com/events/865339010143304/

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The writer is the founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya and has been a practitioner of Yoga since 2000. She is an M.A. in Yogashashtra and MBA in Finance & HR, from USA. Her client base includes industrialists, athletes, bollywood stars, patients etc. She can be contacted at shammisyogalaya@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/ShammisYogalaya