Saturday, August 17, 2013

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Downward Facing Dog

Courtney Ronca (left) and Edna Barr (right) doing downward facing dog.


Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) usually follows Urdhva Mukha Svanasana.

How to do it: 

From Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, spread your fingers wide and press into your hands fully as you move your hips up toward the sky. Your feet will gently lift as you bring your hips up. Coming onto the tips of your toes, you will start to bring your heels gently down to the floor. Your feet should be hip distance apart. 

Your arms will externally rotate, opening the chest and collar bones. 

Your arms, spine and legs will all be straight. Your body will make an inverted “V” shape. The outside part of your feet will be parallel to the sides of the mat. 

Relax your head and look at your navel. 


Option 1: You can bend your knees slightly to make the pose more accessible. 

Option 2: Your heels can be off the floor if you have tight hamstrings.

Option 3: Instead of looking at your navel, you can look through your legs. 

Drishti (Where you should look):

Nabi Chakra Drishti- gaze at the navel.

Why we do it: 

Downward facing dog is a great calf release and arm strengthener. 

About the picture:

On the right is my amazing and talented friend Edna Barr. You never know what you're about to experience in Edna's vinyasa flow classes. After 20 years of teaching, Edna has learned to take cues from her students and be a creative channel rather than force life to conform. It could be riding the wave of an energetic crowd with fun music and arm balances or nurturing over taxed bodies and minds with a slower, opening and grounding practice. Edna believes that "We need to honor our intuitive nature and allow our own bodies to be our teachers". 

Weaving together all of her life experiences inspires Edna to teach classes that are full of laughter and joy. She blends classic yoga poses with unconventional joint freeing movements in order to peel away the layers of tight muscles and preconceived notions. Edna 's philosophy floats across the yoga studio "Living up to our highest potential is daunting; learning to surrender, accept, find inner strength to reach another level is possible... when we allow it". 

Edna is an E-RYT 500 with Frog Lotus Yoga. She is also certified in: Yoga Tune Up, ACE; American Council on Exercise, AFAA; Aerobic & Fitness Association of American, Schwinn Indoor Cycle, and Zumba. 

She can be found teaching at Peacebank Yoga in Redwood City, CA, 24 Hour Fitness in Mountain View, CA, and Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. Her full schedule can be found at

Edna is holding a yoga retreat on September 14-22, 2013 in Hawaii:

The beautiful lady on the left is my dear friend Courtney Ronca. Courtney began practicing yoga in 2005 while she was a graduate student in college, but it wasn't until her move into the bay area in 2007, that she met her teacher Anirudh Shastri and decided she wanted to teach. Since her move in 2007, Courtney has completed two 200 hour teacher training programs, and one 500 hour teacher training program under Sri Dharma Mittra.

Courtney has a knack for making the impossible possible for students. She has a special ability of breaking down complex poses, and making them attainable.

You can find her teaching at: Peacebank Yoga in Redwood City, CA, Studio Rincon in Menlo Park, CA, East West Yoga in Cupertino, CA and San Jose State University in San Jose, CA.

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