Downward Dog (Stretching)

Downward Dog

Move: Kneel on your hands and knees with your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Have your knees and feet hip distance apart. Lift your hips up into an inverted “V” position with your heels lifted. Press through the hands, opening the shoulders. Bend your knees, bringing your ribs closer to your thighs. Lift your sitting bones high, feeling the lower back moving into an inward curve. Slowly start to straighten the knees. Press your heels toward the floor. Your heels may remain lifted until you gain the flexibility to press them all the way down. Continue to press through the hands, working into the shoulder stretch; lifting the hips to increase the stretch in the hamstring muscles; and pressing the heels down, working into the calf stretch. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds or more.


• If you have tight hamstring muscles, modify the posture by bending the knees and straightening them as far as you can, feeling a gentle tug. Do not overstretch.

• The main stretches are in the muscles of the shoulders, hamstrings, and calves. There are subtle stretches in the chest, mid- and upper back, and arms. As you breathe into the stretch, be in tune with your body. Listen not only to the stretches that talk to you but to those that whisper too.

• When pressing the heels to the fl oor, keep the feet parallel. Do not turn the feet in or out.

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