Yoga Anatomy: Heels Flat in Downdog + Why You Can’t Do It

Yoga Anatomy: Heels Flat in Downdog + Why You Can’t Do It

Do you ever wonder why your heels don’t touch the floor in downward dog? Do you have trouble getting comfortable in poses like dolphin, forearm stand, or forearm plank? Here’s why: So, all that to say: 1) If your heels aren’t touching the ground in downdog and it bothers you or prevents you from fully lengthening the hamstrings and calves, you can compensate by bringing the floor up to you. You can roll up a thick towel (or two, depending on how much height you need) and lay it on your mat so your heels can rest there instead of remaining suspended above the ground. 2) If you can’t get enough rotation in your forearms to come comfortably in to dolphin, forearm stand, or forearm plank, don’t worry about it! Wrap your hands around the sides of a yoga block (or super thick book) so that the thumbs remain facing up. This doesn’t require as much rotation of the joints and will still allow you to do the poses in a way that feels good. Note: my head isn’t resting on the block even though my cray-cray hair makes it look like it ;). My neck is relaxed so it’s just in front of the block, I’m looking between my knees and my head is hovering above the ground.    Tell me: Got any other poses you want de-mystified? Let me know which poses you want broken down and given options for and I’ll get on it...
Do This, Not That: 5 Poses Everyone Does Wrong & How To Fix Them (with pictures!)

Do This, Not That: 5 Poses Everyone Does Wrong & How To Fix Them (with pictures!)

In most cases, there’s plenty to do when it comes to fine tuning our yoga practice. We could lift a little more here, engage a bit more over there, and bring more awareness to our breath while we do all of it. But sometimes it’s easier to just identify what looks “off” and find out how we can correct it quickly. Taking things one step at a time with the intention of eventually painting a full picture is much more satisfying than just trying to fix everything all at once. The “fix-it-all-now” strategy is demoralizing and you rarely feel the same sense of accomplishment. It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you start somewhere! How about here: some of the most commonly incorrect poses in a typical class. 1) Downward Facing Dog. It’s easier to “dump” the weight forward because it takes the work out of the back and hamstrings, but when we lean too far forward, the wrists can strain, the spine compresses, and the rhythm of breath isn’t as fluid. Instead, be sure to elongate the hamstrings by pressing back through the heels, tilting the pelvis up, and press the floor away with the hands to elongate the spine. Also, let’s nip this in the bud once and for all: your heels do NOT have to touch the floor for this pose to be “correct.” There, I said it! 2) Chatturanga Dandasana. Ahh, much easier to pitch the hips up and dip the chest down, but it won’t do you any favors! Dipping the shoulders below the elbows can spell injury if we don’t correct...