Part 2 of the 3 part series Downward-Facing Dog (DFD). This video shows the bent knees version of DFD if your heels don't reach the floor. Beginners and those with tight hamstrings will have bent knees. Also in this post are the benefits of DFD.
Once in DFD your palms should be shoulder width or wider. Distance between the feet at least hip distance or distance same as hands, feet parallel to each other. Spread the fingers, index fingers pointing to the top of the mat. For more details about DFD go to, Downward-Facing Dog Video, part 1.
If you're a beginner or not flexible in the thighs to the point your heels don't reach the floor then keep the legs bent and up on the balls of your feet. Just work on elongating the back with the sit bones up and back. Do not bring the feet forward to get the heels to reach the floor, the distance from the hands to the feet is the same as Plank pose. Your main focus is from the hands to the sit bones. One of the benefits of bending the legs with the sit bones up and back is that it takes some weight off the hands and wrists.
Keep the shoulders away from the ears instead of the shoulders pressing into the neck. To help with this roll the upper outer arms toward the floor to free the neck and giving stability in the shoulders. The tendency is to drop into a back bend so lengthen the spine & hips to help with this.
Benefits of DFD: Calms the brain and stimulates the nerves. Strengthens and or stretches hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, hamstrings, calves, Achilles tendon, arches of the feet and toes. Reduces back pain by strengthening shoulder girdle as well as the entire back. Helps with menopause. Reduces tension by elongating the neck relaxing the head to help decrease headaches. Can also decrease anxiety. DFD is also a mild inversion which is great for circulation and increasing blood flow to the brain and eyes. This is considered an inversion because the hips are above the head.
Next week I will demo Downward-Facing Dog for those that have trouble getting to the floor or that can not get to the floor, also next weeks poses are good prep poses for bent knee DFD.
Healthy & Happy,