Downward Facing Dog Yoga Pose Adjustments – Adho Mukha Svanasana
Have your student measure the distance of their hands to their feet by coming forward to plank pose with their shoulders above their wrist and hips in line with their body. Then have them press back to Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana. Ideally there should not be much adjusting of the feet from plank to Downward Facing Dog, this is about the distance the feet and hands should be in their own bodies. Try out some of these great adjustments once they found their unique positioning.
Adjustment for the Spine
We are looking to get the most length out of their spine in this Asana (pose). If the back is rounding have the student slightly bend their knees. To adjust them, stand behind your student facing them and take a hold of their hip crease with your hands. Bend your knees for more strength and gently pull their hips up and back. For a deeper adjustment and if the back is not overly rounding, step in front of them with your feet on the outside of their hands, place your hands at their sacrum to gauge where you will gently lay the front side of your torso on their back. Leaning against them, use your body weight to press up and back. Depending on the size of your body and your students you may either need to come into the pose with bent knees and straighten them as you bring your weight into the adjustment or with straight legs and you may need to press the balls of your feet into the ground for leverage.
Adjustment for the Shoulders
For the Shoulders: Many people tend to collapse in the shoulders in this pose. It is important to remind them to not “sink” in their shoulder joints by engaging their upper back muscles. Place your hands between their shoulders and their ears. Gently encourage them to turn their shoulders outward or externally rotate them creating more space between their ears and their shoulders. Alternatively you can turn their biceps outwards.
Adjustment for the Ankles
While it is not necessary for the students heels to come to the floor, and they may never be able to due to their anatomical structure, it is helpful to encourage them to send their heels toward the ground. Reaching in this direction will achieve a nice stretch in the back of the ankles and the calves. Place your hands behind the ankle and gently press them towards the floor without forcing them down.
If you have any questions or suggestions for additional adjustments not included here please post below!