A few “Downward Dog” Tweaks

We’re all pretty familiar with the traditional “downward dog” position in Yoga; It’s a great stretch that works to lengthen the tissues of the posterior chain, or the musculature on the backside of the body from your  plantar fascia to your shoulders.

Here’s an example of a few tweaks we can employ…

Variation 1:
– Single Leg Crossbehind – this allows for us to focus on one leg at a time… an important concept, as most people tend to have one leg relatively tighter than the other, and if we stay in the dual leg stance like in the traditional downward dog, we may not create enough of a stretch for the leg that needs it, or we may compensate somehow.

Variation 2:
– Wide Stance with Pelvic Shift – I like this one because we can focus a bit more on the deep external rotators, the glutes, lateral hamstring, and lateral calf a bit more… all areas that tend to be alot tighter in individuals that we can’t necessarily get after in a traditional downward dog stretch.

A few key points:

– The knees don’t necessarily have to be fully locked out.  In hypermobile individuals, it actually would be better to maintain slight knee flexion to ensure less stress on the posterior knee joint and more stress to the muscles.

5-10 reps for 1-3 sets  in each variation would suffice, working additional sets/reps if you’re especially restricted. Keep the tempo smooth and controlled… no jerky or “segmented” motion (i.e. joint segments should be flowing fluidly like water, with no sudden collapses or jumpy motion).

Give ‘r a try and let me know your thoughts!


Leave a Comment