Adho Mukha Shvanasana
Strengthens: Leg, Arm
Stretches: Shoulder, Hand, Hamstring, Calf, Arches of the foot
Preparatory poses: Uttanasana, Phalakasana
Follow-up poses: Uttanasana, Sirsasana
Pose type: Forward bend
Come onto your hands and knees, hands shoulder-distance apart with fingers spread wide and knees hip-distance apart. Curl your toes under so that you are on the bottom of your toes.
Lift your knees off the floor; straighten your legs. Press into the floor with the entire circumference of your palms. Press your index fingers and thumbs into the floor, taking the weight away from the pinkie edge of your hands. As your hands press into the floor, lengthen your arms away from your wrists. Rotate your pelvis forward to lift your sitting bones away from your heels. Lift your hips high into the air, stretching them away from your waist and toward the wall behind you. Press your heels downward while lifting the arches of your feet. Release your head down.
If you experience too much stretch in the back of your legs, or your vertebrae push out, elevate your hands onto a chair or counter top and/or lift your heels higher from the floor. Soften your gaze, quiet your hearing. Breathe evenly and comfortably through your nose. To come out of the pose, place your knees onto the floor and sit on your heels. Rest your arms comfortably at your sides.