How to do dog pose
Before attempting dog pose (or downwards dog pose), find your own space on a non-slip surface (e.g. yoga mat or carpet). Take off your socks and shoes. This will enable you to use your feet effectively as you balance in and ‘feel’ the pose.
Start by moving onto hands and knees, in cat pose. Check to make sure your hands are flat on the floor ideally with your fingers spread apart a little. Guide your hands forward by one ‘handprint’. Now gently push up through your hands and feet and lift your hips (bottom) up into the air – into dog pose. You should now just be balancing on your hands and feet.
Keep your knees bent to start with – this will help you to stretch out your back. Then see if you can straighten your knees one at a time – but be careful not to ‘lock’ them. Imagine you have a little butterfly under your toes & place your feet gently onto the floor so that you don’t squash her!
Dog pose is a back stretch. So if you feel tightness down the back of your legs, bend your knees a little. As you do this you will be able you to lengthen your back further.
Take a look through your legs by putting your head between your upper arms and see the world from upside down!
Dog pose is easier for children when they can copy someone else. Doing dog pose with your child will support the bond between you both (and is much more fun)! Remember to respect your body. If you know you have any health concerns (especially back, neck or wrist issues) take extra care and stop immediately if you feel any pain. For further information on whether this pose is suitable for you always consult a health professional.
Dog pose is a great all-rounder and can provide the ideal ‘movement break’ for a child if they are finding it hard to settle to do homework or struggling to calm to themselves.
The benefits of dog pose
A more challenging dog pose
Try raising one leg in the air, then the other. For even more of a challenge, move the raised foot from side to side, wagging your doggy tail!
Dog pose tips & variations
Focus on your breath
Stick out your tongue and ‘pant’ like a dog for a few out breaths. Then try closing your mouth, but keep the same ‘panting’ action, this time breathing out through your nose.
Play a game
Take your dog for a walk! Gather together your friends and ask everyone to try dog pose. Then you can move around in dog pose, being sure to stay aware of & communicate with others so that you don’t bump into them. Move forwards, backwards and even sideways across the mat, carpet or garden! Keep looking up all the time as you move around and give each other plenty of room. You might even form a line in dog pose to create a tickly, doggy tunnel for your friends to wriggle through.