The face down dog pose is an energising pose that stretches the shoulders, hamstrings and calves as well as releasing the neck and strengthening the arms and legs.
How to do the face down dog pose:
- Begin on all fours, with the hands shoulder width apart and the knees hip width apart.
- Make sure the fingers point forwards.
- Tuck the toes under and as you inhale press into the hands and lift the hips up towards the ceiling.
- Stay on the balls of the feet and keep the knees bent to begin with as you lift your sitting bones up as high as you can and lengthen out the lower back.
- Gradually start to straighten out the legs and press the heels towards the floor.
- Keep the hands pressing into the floor, the arms straight and firm the outer arms in to make some space between the shoulder blades.
- Soften the head and look back towards the knees.
- Stay in the pose for 5 to 10 breaths then come back down onto all fours.
- To add more challenge try lifting one leg straight out behind you. Keep the hips level. Try to extend the bottom heel towards the floor.
What to watch out for:
- Keep the feet parallel.
- Keep pressing the base of the fingers into the floor.
- If your hamstrings are very tight, keep the knees slightly bent to allow the spine to lengthen instead of rounding.
- Wrist problems - use a folded blanket or mat under the hands to take the pressure off the wrists. Donʼt hold the pose for as long.
Our instructor is Polly Clark; yoga teacher and founder of Mountain Yoga Breaks who offer weekends combining mountain biking and yoga in the beautiful Welsh countryside.