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Down Dog Checklist

Down Dog is one of those yoga poses that seem so simple yet its actually quite the opposite. When coming to your mat & into your first Down Dog, take a few moments, scan your body and make sure All Parts Are Go in this fundamental pose of your practice. After child's pose, Down Dog is actually meant to be a pose to come back to, check back in with your breath & allow your heart rate to slow when in a faster paced vinyasa class. After years of Down Dogging, the checklist below is how I check-in to my first Down Dog & each time I return to it.

This post was inspired by being in class a few weeks ago, looking back thru my legs and noticing a dude in the row behind me, shaking like a leaf in down dog just a couple minutes into the practice. My first thought? I'm so strong...I can Down Dog all day! Second thought...Us girls are badasses -- we down dog, handstand & arm balance the boys right off the mat. Finally, I thought, I wonder what he could be doing differently to find comfort & ease in his Down Dog.


Down Dog Checklist:

- hands placed shoulders width apart or just slightly wider

- fingers spread wide, index fingers parallel, pressing into all parts of both hands evenly -- firmly pressing into the base of your thumb & index fingers as well as the fingertips, careful to not dump weight into your wrists

- unshrug shoulders/traps down & away from your ears -- pulling shoulder blades down your back & in towards your spine

- tailbone lengthening up towards the ceiling, while maintaining a slight tuck to engage lower abdominals and narrowing the front of your pelvis

- feet placed in line with your Sitz Bones, (or slightly wider if more comfortable) actively pressing heels down towards the mat - lengthening & stretching your achilles, calves & hamstrings

Side Note: it's ok if your heels don't touch -- a lot of people get caught up in having  their heels touch the mat. Effort to touch by staying active in the pose, continue to lightly press down & back.

A couple things your do NOT want to be feeling in your Down Dog:
- Pain and/or uncomfortable pressure in your shoulders, wrists, neck
- Pain in your low back

Hope you find this helpful next time you are on your mat!

Much Love,

Lauren Schwaiger


Lauren is a healthy, happy, active living enthusiast, free-spirited, dreamer & life lover. Lauren created in September 2013 in hopes of inspiring & motivating others by sharing her ongoing & always evolving love affair with fashion, food & fitness + her other loves-of-life such as close friends, family, music, travel & anything else that that brings joy into her life!


David H. Brown
Mon, September 5, 201611:53 pm
David H. Brown
Hi Lauren. I love your checklist. Look really carefully at the photograph that illustrates your checklist. Especially your shoulders upper arms heels of your hands thumbs index finger middle finger. Your checklist deserves a picture that fully expresses it