Yoga Lesson: Down and Up Dog
Down Dog: How to Do It (left)
• Come to your hands and knees on a yoga mat. On an exhalation, lift your belly up so your back is rounded, then move your hips up and back to create an inverted V with your body. Make sure your knees are straight but not locked. Relax your neck and let your head drop.
• Press back strongly with your arms to produce a full stretch in your calves and the backs of your upper thighs. Hold for 5 to 7 long and even breaths.
Up Dog: How To Do It
• From Down Dog, drop your tailbone and roll through your spine as you lower into a backbend, initiating the movement from the pelvis. Keep your abs strongly contracted and stay lifted in your upper back.
• Raise your head as you come into the pose. Press back firmly with your legs, point your toes, and remain "standing" on the tops of the feet. Keep your legs parallel to the floor, your knees and arms straight, your breastbone strongly lifted, and your shoulders down. Inhale and exhale evenly for 3 to 5 breaths.
• Return to Down Dog, and repeat this series 3 times before sitting back on your heels to rest for 3 breaths.
Contraindications: Do not practice this series during menstruation or after the first trimester of pregnancy.