How to Do the Downward Facing Dog Pose

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Ever watch a dog stretch? Then you already have a good idea of what this pose looks like—and how handy it can be for digging up bones.

Step 1: Kneel on mat
Kneel down on the mat on your hands and knees. Spread your fingers and align your wrists parallel to the front edge of the mat.

Tip
It’s easier to align your hands properly if you visualize a straight line passing from the crease at the base of one wrist to the crease of the other.

Step 2: Lift hips up & back
Curl your toes under and lift your hips up and back, straightening your legs and bringing yourself into an upside-down, V-shaped position. There should be a 90-degree angle between your legs and your torso, and your arms should extend to the ground at the same angle as your spine.

Tip
If your hamstrings are less flexible, you may need to bend your knees to lift your hips up and back. If your shoulders are less flexible, you may not be able to extend the arms fully. Only go as far as what your body will allow.

Step 3: Keep head aligned
Keep your head aligned between your arms so you’re looking at your thighs—don’t let it hang down or try to raise it up.

Step 4: Deepen pose
To deepen the pose, raise your heels up slightly, lengthen your spine as you press your chest a little closer to your thighs, and then lower your heels to the mat.