Taos Yoga: Parivrtta Adho Mukha Svanasana

revolved down dog

Taos Yoga: Parivrtta Adho Mukha Svanasana pose.

The great physical benefits of yoga include excellent tone of the muscles and connective tissues of the body through strengthening and stretching, as well as the toning of inner organs as a result of twisting. I think of Revolved Downward Facing Dog as one of the supreme twists in all classes of poses. With the opportunity to build strength and support great shoulder therapy through weight bearing, as well as inverting your heart above your head, so much takes place in this posture it’s a hard one to beat.

Begin in downward dog, aligning your hands so that your index fingers point straight forward and are in line with your outer shoulders.  Place your feet at least hip distance apart, wider if you would like more stability.  Traditional downward dog asks the yogi to be aware of the distance between their hands and feet so as to distribute the weight evenly, rooting deeply from the base of their heart not only into the hands but also in the tailbone and heels.

In revolved downward dog it is sometimes necessary to walk your feet a bit closer to your hands to comfortably root your heels into the Earth and take hold of your outer ankle or shin.  Inhale to take your left hand to your outer right shin while dropping your shoulders away from your hips.  Exhale to twist your left ribs underneath you, bringing your gaze and navel to the right while drawing your right outer hip back and rooting deeply through your tailbone and heels.  Invite more spaciousness with every breath.  Hold for five to ten breaths then unwind with an inhale, switch sides.

Another benefit of twisted postures is a sweet calm and delight that arises after they have been performed, enjoy.