Downwards Dog & Dolphin Pose
- Begin from the Plank position to ensure you have the correct distance between the hands and feet.
- From the Plank, lead the hips back and up by pushing back on the heels of the hands.
- Spread the fingers out and engage the triceps.
- Straighten the spine and extend the shoulders.
- Keep the core engaged.
- Rotate the arms and shoulders outwards, draw the shoulder blades down your back and away from each other.
- Slightly bend the knees.
- To increase length in the spine, send the sit-bones up higher.
- Once the lower spine is straight, relax the ankles, allow the heels to lower, and straighten the legs.
- Ensure that the beck is aligned with the spine by looking towards the toes.
General and Boxing-specific Benefits
An extremely effective, whole-body exercise, the Downwards-facing Dog stretches the hamstrings and the deep calf muscles, builds shoulder strength and stability, and improves circulation in the legs. It stretches the back and arms, lengthens the core, releases tension and opens the hips. It also helps with core control.
Cautions and Modified Versions
Participants with shoulder injuries should not emphasize external rotation of the shoulders but keep the arms straight and comfortable. Participants with wrist injuries should practice this pose with modifications, such as placing the elbows and forearms on the floor. If hamstrings are tight, keep the knees and elbows bent as is comfortable. Focus on lengthening the back and rotating the pelvis forward.
- From a Table Top position, curl the toes under, exhale and lift the knees away from the floor.
- Lift the sit bones upwards and lengthen the tailbone away from the back of the pelvis.
- Press the forearms into the ground.
- Lengthen the legs to stretch.
Spine/Core: Spinal extensors and flexors.
Upper limbs: Serratus anterior, rotator cuff, deltoid, biceps brachi (long head), triceps brachii, pronator quadratus and teres, intrinsic muscles of wrist and hand
Lower limbs: Hamstrings, gastrocnemius, intrinsic muscles of foot,
Study and Reflect
Practice the Downwards-facing Dog by a mirror to check your alignment. What are your bad habits with this pose? How can you ensure that both the legs and the spine are straight and that the heels lower down towards the ground? How would you instruct a group to hold this pose?
HELP AND SUPPORT
If you have any questions during your studies, feel free to use the BoxingYoga™ Worldwide Support Group on Facebook. It's a dedicated forum for students and coaches to help and support each other, wherever you are in the world.