If your heels aren't planted firmly on the mat when in Down Dog, you're not alone. This pose may look relaxing, but it requires a great deal of hamstring, calf, and lower-back flexibility. Practice these four poses to help open the backs of your legs in order to comfortably lower your heels.
In order to get both heels to lower in Down Dog, it helps to practice lowering one at a time by working on Three-Legged Dog. This pose will target stretching each leg's hamstring and calf individually. Bend your bottom knee if you need to get the heel to lower, and then slowly work on straightening that leg as your flexibility increases.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
To increase flexibility in the hamstrings, calves, and lower back, work on this intense version of Wide-Legged Forward Bend. Focus on shifting your weight forward into your toes to increase the stretch in the back of the lower legs.
See two more poses to help you with Down Dog after the break!
To stretch and strengthen the calves, work on this balancing posture. If you're not quite sure how to tackle this pose, then here are some tips to prevent you from tipping over in Eagle.
Here's a relaxing way to stretch out the calves and lower back. Make sure your knees are wide enough to allow you to stay balanced on your feet, and if you can, try to turn your heels out so your feet are parallel. Stay in Wide Squat for a few minutes to fully open these tight areas.