Downward facing dog / Adha Mukha Svanasana

Come into basic Cat Position with your hands and knees on the floor. The back is straight. Now place your hands a bit further away from your shoulders to the front, arms still straight and shoulder wide open, the fingers are stretched,, open and facing to the front. Now tuck in your toes and with an exhale raise your hips up, straighten your arms and legs, both forming a triangle. The goal is to have and to keep the back and spinal cord straight. Bend your legs as much as needed to keep the back straight and balance your body weight between your hands and feet. With regular practise you may be able to straighten your legs more as the hamstrings become more flexible and to bring the heels towards the floor. Keep the head between your arms to lengthen your neck. Give yourself some time to explore this pose. You may like to bend and straighten your legs in turns without overstraining and just to stay in the pose for a few, e.g. 3 breathing cycles. Release the pose as you came in. With an inhale lower your hips and come on all four again, align your back and head, then exhale, sit back on your calves and roll up your upper body slowly vertebrae by vertebrae until you sit upright again. This is Thunderbolt position or sit back on your calves with your arms and hands stretched to the front, this pose is called Childs pose.

Downward facing dog is also a pose of the Sun Salutations / Surya Namaskar

Benefits: stretches the hamstrings, tones and builds up strength in the calves, legs, shoulders and arms. This pose also helps in calming the mind, improves the immune system and the blood flow.

If you had or have any problems or injuries to your back, legs, hips, shoulders, arms, your eyes or you suffer of high blood pressure or a heart desease be very cautious or do not practise this pose as it is very powerful.