I want to share with you one simple but ‘friggin’ amazing tip which will help you to improve your experience of down dog today.
In an earlier blog post (you can catch up with it here), I talked about some challenges which can come up when practising down dog.
These challenges include issues like sore wrists, lack of mobility in the shoulders, hips and back plus, of course, tightness in the hamstrings.
Today I want to focus on a particular tip which will help all of the above. 😉
This one tip is a real game-changer. In fact, it helped me solve my own issues with sore wrists.
This tip is simple – weight distribution.
Why Weight Distribution
Why is this One Simple Tip To Improve Your Down Dog so Helpful?
It is fairly common (as many of us suffer from tight shoulders and hips) to dump too much weight on the upper body.
When this happens we naturally push more weight on the wrists. Eventually, we get or exacerbate wrist pain.
Ironically, the extra weight on our wrists can cause more tension and tightness in the shoulders and hips. More tension and tightness in the shoulders and hips create a situation where we don’t use our leg or core muscles properly.
If we continue to upper body ‘weight dump’ it becomes very difficult to change this. Our back, hips and shoulders will remain tight and immobile. The wrists will continue to take the brunt of our weight and our legs and core will stay lazy and inactive.
Our experience of practising down dog remains the same – unchanging and not improving.
By working on evening out our weight distribution between the upper and lower body, we are in a pretty good position to improve and maybe completely resolve the above issues.
How Does It Work?
Improving our weight distribution, enables our body to work in a smarter and more balanced and aligned way. When we are more balanced and aligned the muscles and joints work more efficiently.
Muscles which are typically lazy will have to wake up and ones which are overworked will be able to take a break. This further improves our alignment which in turn increases our strength, mobility and flexibility in ALL areas of our body.
So How Do We Achieve Better Weight Distribution in Down Dog?
With the help of two props – a yoga strap and a yoga brick.
Practising down dog with these two props helps us to:
- Successfully and easily distribute our weight more evenly between the front and back body.
- Work our muscles in a more balanced way, improving posture, core strength and alignment.
So, go and grab a yoga brick and a strap and get ready to explore.
How To Do It.
There are two parts to this exercise.
- First of all, make a loop with the strap measuring hip-width apart.
- You are going to place this around the thigh area, just above the knees (make sure that the metal ring doesn’t touch your skin directly).
- Secondly, grab a yoga brick and place it lengthways at the head of the mat.
- Wrap the index finger and the thumb around the block (as shown below), coming into a kneeling position.
- Press up and back into down dog.
- From here, focus on pressing the index finger and thumb into the block. Make sure that the finger pads and finger knuckles are gently rooting down into the mat.
- At the same time press the strap apart with your thigh muscles.
- Keep this push-pull action going and just notice what you feel.
- To wake up the legs more think about pressing the top of the thigh bones back in space. Also, press the inner and outer heels towards the back of the mat.
- Stay up for a few breaths and then come down.
- Go up again, breathe and notice.
- Come down; release yourself from the props and then move on to part 2
- Now we are going to swap the props around.
- Place the strap loop around the upper arms or forearms, shoulder-width apart (make sure that the loop isn’t smaller than shoulder-width).
- Take the brick and place it in between the inner thighs making sure that the legs stay at least hip-width apart.
- Whilst squeezing the block between your thighs press the arms into the strap. Again we are creating a push-pull action.
- Press the fingers down and forward whilst pressing the sit bones to the sky.
- Again take time to notice and explore.
Some Questions to Ask Yourself?
Whilst ‘playing’ and exploring the above (and afterwards) take time to reflect on the questions below:
- Where do you feel your weight between the front and the back? Has it changed at all?
- What muscles are working more/less?
- How are your wrists feeling during and after your practice? Any different?
- What did you notice about your shoulder, upper and leg areas? Could you feel them working in a more balanced (smarter) way?
- Did your spine feel longer/different?
- Were there any changes to how your lower and upper back felt?
- Could you feel your tummy muscles work more strongly?
- Anything else?
NB: there is no right or wrong – we are just asking questions and exploring. 😁
Final Thoughts and What To Do Now
👉When you practise the above, you may find that you prefer one set-up over the other and that is fine. Everybody is different so go with what works for you.
👉Curious to Learn More?
Purchase my on-demand 2-hour down dog workshop. For £15 get lifetime access to a content-packed workshop where you will see me demonstrating how to use a block and strap as well as lots of mobility and strength yoga moves to help you improve your down dog. To order a copy simply message me ‘down dog recording please’ through my contact page and I will send you payment instructions and a link (lifetime access) to the recording.
👉Check out my down dog tutorial for FREE below.