If you have issues with Downward facing dog, try warming up with Puppy pose. Puppy pose, also known as Anahatasana, is a great way to create a stretch in your chest, energize your arms, and open your spine without even taking your knees off the floor.
It is also a great modification of Child’s pose for people with limited range of motion in their knees. For example, I have a client who has recovered from a double knee replacement but still doesn’t quite have enough flexion at the knee joint to comfortably sit back in Child’s pose. Instead, we practice Puppy pose.
By keeping muscular energy, he doesn’t force his knee into too deep of a stretch. However, because your hips shift slightly behind your knees, it encourages additional flexion at the knee joint.
Here’s more information about this multi-purpose pose that is accessible to everyone.
- Use ujjayi breathing.
- Begin with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Reach your arms forward as if you were getting your hands set and getting ready to go in to Downward facing dog. Make sure your fingers are spread.
- Broaden your collarbones and feel space between your shoulders and your ears.
- Draw your belly button to your spine and rotate your pelvis like you’re trying to stick your butt out at the wall behind you.
- Place your head so that your ears are between your biceps.
- As you hold, think about softening your upper back. Let your heart melt toward the floor while you maintain muscular energy in your body.
- You may notice that, as your spine softens, your weight shifts backward slightly. It may feel like your hips have come slightly behind your knees. This is normal.
- Hold for 5-8 breaths.
- Remember, lengthen on the inhale; soften on the exhale. We’re working on softening the part of the spine just behind your heart and not the entire spine, so don’t get saggy!
Puppy Pose Video
Here is a video for visual learners.
What do you think of Puppy pose? Let us know in the comments below.
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