My Adho Mukha Svanasana Sucks

So apparently my Adho Mukha Svanasana sucks.  That’s Downward Facing Dog for all you non-Sanskrit speaking folks.  No one actually told me that my Downward Dog is terrible; I just kind of came to that conclusion on my own this past weekend.  It was weekend #2 of Yoga Teacher Training, and we focused on Sun Salutations, which obviously include a lot of Downward Dog.  It’s a common pose – perhaps one of the more famous ones for those not very familiar with yoga.

This is what Adho Mukha Svanasana looks like:
I was just about to draw your attention to this model’s flat back and straight hands (which I definitely need to work on!), but upon further investigation, she actually appears to have some of the same difficulties as I do.  Hmm…curious!  I need to turn my hands outward a few degrees in order to get the desired flat back and wide shoulders.  Turning my hands out is the easy part, though; the real work here for me is rotating my shoulders outward in their sockets and spinning my upper arm muscles outward in the same way.  My biceps need to spin out while my triceps turn in toward each other, all while I place more weight emphasis on my inner palms – this is WAY more difficult than you might imagine.  I am failing this task miserably, but I’m working toward success – and really, isn’t “working toward success” a success all on its own?
For those of your who know me outside of the blogging world, you will know that I like to be good at what I do.  I’m a bit of a perfectionist, if you will.  For precisely this reason, it sucks that I suck at Downward Dog.  BUT I don’t suck at everything in my yoga course…in fact, on Saturday, Yoga Teacher Catherine said to me:  “Chrissy – that is an awesome Chaturanga!”
This is Chaturanga…
It is VERY hard.  It takes a lot of core strength and people complain about doing this pose all the time.  Having Catherine tell me that my Chaturanga is “awesome” makes me feel like a Yoga Rock Star – even if my Adho Mukha Svanasana does suck!
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3 thoughts on “My Adho Mukha Svanasana Sucks

  1. Chaturanga is my Holy Grail. I am so, so, so excited to one day get to do an awesome chaturanga.

    I love that even the most basic poses, the foundation poses, are actually incredibly difficult to do exactly right. Downward Dog is totally one of these. All those things you just listed? Same issues here. More so, probably. On a totally selfish note, it’s good for a novice like me to see someone at your level still have to work through some things. Reminds me that this practice is a practice, not a performance.

    GREAT POST.

  2. twisting muscles, rotating shoulders. all sounds quite familar. I was listening to this chappy (www.raphan.co.uk) recently and he did an amazing example of opening his back in downward facing dog. food for thought as his style is really interesting…

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