Don't be fooled — Down Dog isn't reserved just for yoga class. This pose is great for postrun or après-bike to stretch tight calves and hamstrings. It also works your shoulders and feels great on your lower back. I just learned a variation of this pose that stretches your shoulders and I want to share it with you.
You've seen the photos, now to learn the details of this stretch when you
- Begin in Downward Facing Dog pose, with both hands and feet flat on the floor or a mat. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart, and your feet should be hip distance apart. Spread your fingers wide and flare your heels slightly wider than your toes, so the outside edges of your feet are parallel.
- Now lift your right hand off the floor and reach it toward your legs. Place your right palm underneath the inside of your left heel, clasping it firmly with your fingers. Then gently press your left heel down to the floor. You want to keep your right arm straight, as you actively press your torso to the left to increase the stretch in your right shoulder.
- Stay here for 30 seconds, and then release your right hand back to Down Dog position. Repeat this stretch with the left hand under your right heel.