Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana (2-5 Eggs)

"When you place your palms on the floor in Adho Mukha Svanasana you have to find where your energy is present and where it is absent, where the life force is active, or overactive, and where passive and inactive." -- B.K.S. Iyengar, Yoga Wisdom & Practice

Where To

  • Under the hands
  • Under the forearms
  • Between the thighs
  • Under the forehead

Why To

  • If you find that there is significant discomfort in the shoulders this is often because there is too much weight being placed on the hands. An Egg under each hand takes away some of this pressure and encourages you to shift more weight back into your feet.
  • Wrist discomfort is one of the primary complaints in many inverted postures. This can be caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or simply a lack of flexibility and strength in the wrists. Placing your hand on the curved side of the Egg, with the heel of the hand just behind the midpoint of the Egg, minimizes wrist flexion and alleviates discomfort.
  • Some people have a tendency to splay their arms. Placing an Egg on the floor, between the hands, housed by the L-shape created by the thumbs and index fingers, can help prevent this. At the very least, it brings awareness to the issue. It also offers a nice physical point of reference. This will not only ensure that the arms (especially the elbows) stay shoulder distance apart but it will bring awareness to the inner edges of the hands (particularly the base of the thumb and index finger) where the weight needs to rest.
  • To keep the legs hip distance apart place an Egg between your thighs and internally rotate them toward the wall behind you.
  • If you hyper-extend your elbows, or if it simply hurts to have too much weight in your hands, bring an Egg under the forearms to gently lift them away from the mat. This takes the pressure off the elbows and shoulders and will also help to create more space across the shoulder girdle.
  • To alleviate any strain that might be in the cervical spine when in Down Dog, bring an Egg (or stack of Eggs) under the forehead. This also tends to bring a more passive focus to the posture, and calm the mind.

How To

Eggs Under Hands – Recommended for Carpal Tunnel & Strained Shoulders

down-dog.jpg

  1. Start on your hands and knees.

  2. Place an Egg between your thighs to maintain your knees hips-distance apart.
    With an Egg in each hand, bring the heel of your hands directly beneath your shoulders. The heel of your hand needs to be just behind the center of the Egg.
  3. Curl your toes under and straighten your legs, drawing your Sitz bones up and back.
    Pressing the base of your thumb and index finger into the Eggs, draw your upper outer arms towards the floor while drawing the forearms toward one another.
  4. Use this action to broaden the shoulder blades across the upper back. Lengthen through all four sides of the torso while keeping the lower front ribs from puffing toward the floor.
    The arms should remain shoulder-distance apart.
  5. ***If you have a tendency to hyper-extend your arms, try placing the Eggs under your forearms.
    Continue pressing into your hands to shift more weight into your heels as you draw your inner thighs toward the wall behind you.
  6. Bring your gaze to your toes as you lengthen your spine from your tailbone to thebase of your skull.
    Visualize the tops of your thighs moving away from your hands as you softenyour shoulders away from your ears.

Eggs Under Forearms – Recommended for Hyper-Extension of the Elbows & Carpal Tunnel

down-dog-forearms.jpg

  1. Start on your hands and knees.

  2. Place an Egg between your thighs to maintain your knees hips-distance apart.
  3. With an Egg in each hand, bring the heel of your hands directly beneath your shoulders. The heel of your hand needs to be just behind the center of the Egg.
  4. Curl your toes under and straighten your legs, drawing your Sitz bones up and back.
  5. Pick up the Egg in your right hand and bring it back about 6 inches. The Front of the Egg in your right hand should line up with the center of the Egg in your left.
  6. Maintaining pressure on the Egg, slide your right hand down onto the mat.
  7. Pick up the Egg in your left hand and bring it back so it’s even with the Egg in your right. Maintaining pressure on the Egg, slide your left hand down onto the mat.
  8. The arms should remain shoulder-distance apart.§ Pressing the base of your thumb and index finger into the floor, draw your upperouter arms towards the floor while allowing the Eggs to support your forearms.
  9. Broaden the shoulder blades across the upper back. Lengthen through all four sides of the torso while keeping the lower front ribs from puffing toward the floor.
  10. Continue pressing into your hands to shift more weight into your heels, as you draw your inner thighs toward the wall behind you.
  11. Bring your gaze to your toes as you lengthen your spine from your tailbone to the base of your skull.
  12. Visualize the tops of your thighs moving away from your hands as you softenyour shoulders away from your ears.

Eggs Under Forehead – Good for Headaches or High Blood Pressure

  1. Anytime you have your hands on the floor, you have the option of resting your head on an Egg. You will need one or two Eggs to make this happen.
  2. Before going up into the pose, place the Egg(s) approximately where your elbows will be.
  3. Press up into downward Dog and find your pose. Lower your head onto the Eggs.
  4. You may need to stack the Eggs flat or with the top Egg round-side up. You will need to experiment with the exact right positioning of the Eggs. Your forehead should rest comfortably on the Eggs without too much pressure.

When Not To

  •  Women in their 3rd Trimester of pregnancy should avoid Downward Dog
  • People with high blood pressure or headaches should use Eggs under their head for support

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