Downward Facing Dog

ARDHO MUKHA SVANASANA

There is a lot of discussion in the yoga world around whether these postures are safe to perform during pregnancy. As with most things in pregnancy it will depend on the health of the mother and baby, how you feel, and your experience levels. If you have any doubt you should always check with your health practitioner.

How to Perform

  • From hands and knees, firmly root through the knuckles which should be as wide as your shoulders.
  • As you inhale bring the head of the arm bones forward, lengthening the side body. As you exhale soften your heart to the floor bringing the shoulder blades together on your back and lift your hips to the sky keeping a slight bend in the knees.
  • Firm the shins in to create steadiness and roll the upper inner thighs in back and apart. This movement helps to avoid rounding in the lumbar spine.
  • From the bottom of your heart reach into the full length of your spine. Keep the armpits lifted. Avoid dumping the chest down towards the floor, hyperextending in the shoulders.
  • Begin to extend through your hamstrings by taking your heels towards the floor but avoid rounding the lumbar spine.
  • It is recommended that after 30 weeks pregnancy you only hold the pose for a max of 30 seconds or around five breaths.

Modifications

  • This pose can be modi ed to create more room for the belly by taking the feet slightly wider than hip width and raising the hands onto blocks lifting the torso away from the thighs.
  • Remember that the most important thing is that you feel good, use as many props as you need. If Downward Facing Dog on the floor is not feeling good anymore use a wall or the back of a chair to stretch out, taking the ankles under the hips and make sure you are lengthening the side body.