Known in Ashtanga as “Sat” or the sixth position in Sun Saludation A, this foundational pose is a key movement in both the Sun Saludations and all the vinyasas of Ashtanga Yoga. Also known in Sanskrit as ADDHO MUKHA SV
ANASANA, which is where we get the name, Downward Facing Dog.
BENEFITS: When one is tired, a long stay in this position will drive away fatigue and return the energy lost. It is especially appropriate for runners. It provides sprinters with speed and lightness in the legs. It also relieves pain and stiffness in the heels. Reinforces the ankles and models the legs. It also favors the disappearance of the rigidity of the region of the shoulder blades, and relieves art
hritis of the shoulder. The abdominal muscles are brought to the spine and strengthened. As the diaphragm rises toward the thoracic cavity, the heart rate slows. It is a very stimulating posture.
It’s an excellent asana for learning and embodying the principle of roots and extension.
For the technique, externally rotate the shoulders, draw the lower belly in, firm the quads, pivot deep in the hip joints and relax the neck. How you set your body up in Downward Facing Dog will determinate whether your body can find “rest” in the challenging flow of the Ashtanga Yoga method. Any little misalignment of the shoulders here can be disastrous when applied over long periods of time. A safe and healthy approach to Downward Dog sets you up for powerful arm balances and backbends with ease.