The focus pose this time is ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA or Downward Facing Dog.
It is often recommended to begin this pose from the Hinge. The arms are maximally stretched in order to have the correct hand and foot placement, which is a vital component of this pose. The fingers are spread out and facing forward. The hands should be shoulder width apart and the feet are at the hip width. The arms are stretched by simultaneously pushing the hands down into the mat and lifting the shoulders upwards. On an inhalation the back is arched, the toes are tucked under and as you begin to exhale the legs are straightened and the sitting bones are moved up towards the ceiling. The quadriceps are tightened, the kneecaps lifted upwards and the heels are moved in the direction of the mat. Continue with one?s natural breathing rhythm here. In terms of duration, just work at holding this pose for a little bit longer each time.
This is a strong, stable pose in which energy can travel along two lines in the body? from the core or central body down through the legs and from the core down through the arms. When you are ready to release from this pose, the knees are bent and you lower onto hands and knees, then exhale once more into the Hinge, as this will help to stretch out the shoulders.
For those who may want to intensify this pose. The back is arched downwards towards the floor, by increasing the fold at the hips. You should not attempt this unless the back has first been able to be straightened. Another progression at this point is to move the head closer to the floor.
One of the benefits of this asana is that it massages the abdominal organs, toning the liver, kidneys and spleen. Another benefit is to the lymphatic system. A fluid called lymph is collected from the space between the cells of the body. The body?s cells are also fed by this lymph, which transports various nutrients such as salts, minerals and proteins between all of the body?s cells. In the same manner the lymph takes away waste products that are produced through normal cell functioning. The blood then takes over and transports this to the kidneys etc for elimination from the body. Through the regular undertaking of Adho Mukha Svanasana which improves circulation, more efficient removal of these toxins or waste can occur.