AnatomyAbs, Arms, Shoulders, Upper Back
Pose TypeArm Balance, Core
(mah-KAH-rah AH-doh MOO-kah shva-NAH-sun-uh) makara = sea monster or serpent, dolphin adho= downward mukha= face svana = dog
- Strengthens the abdominals, arms, shoulders, and chest
- Relieves stress and mild depression
- Improves posture
- Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and arches of the feet
- Shoulder, neck, or spinal injuries
- High blood pressure
- Eye or ear infections
- Begin in Downward-Facing Dog. Inhale and move your body forward into Plank pose, aligning your shoulders over your wrists and hands.
- Lower your forearms to the ground, one at a time, placing your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your forearms parallel to one another and to the sides of your mat.
- Firm your shoulder blades across your back. Press your palms and forearms down, or bring your palms together in prayer position.
- Engage your core. Firm the front of your thighs (quadriceps) while lengthening your tailbone toward the heels.
- Gaze slightly forward and down to keep your neck in line with your spine.
- Hold this pose for five to 10 breaths. To release, exhale and lower your knees and hips to the floor.
MODIFY OR REPLACE
- Lower your knees to the ground.
- For additional support, rest the forehead on a block.
- Relax the shoulders away from the ears.
- Gaze slightly forward and down to keep your neck aligned with your spine.
- Align your shoulders directly over your elbows.
- Keep the legs engaged and strong.
- Inhale and lift one leg, pressing the heel toward the sky. Exhale and lower the leg down. Switch sides on your next inhalation.
- Walk the feet forward and come into Downward-Facing Dog, with forearms down. This is a precursor to Pincha Mayarasana (Forearm Stand).
- Press the palms together in prayer position or clasp the fingers together to deepen the shoulder stretch.
WATCH OUT FOR
- Collapsing the hips down
- Collapsing through the upper back
- Dropping the chin toward the chest