Downward Facing Dog
Simple yet effective
Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Svanasana
Meaning: Adhas = down / Mukha = facing / Svana = dog / Asana = posture
When I started yoga I didn't like holding downward facing dog, my shoulders would hurt and I would get bored holding it. I also compared myself to everyone.... 'am I doing it right.... are my heels touching the floor' I think to be fair when you start yoga this is pretty common. You compare yourself to everyone next to you or near you.
Something I can't stress enough is everyones body is different! Some people will be able to get their heels to the floor without even trying and others will stretch and stretch and never be able to get their heels to the floor. This can be down to tight muscles OR just simply because that is how their bone structure is! Accept it! Accept your body and how it is today, not how you want your body in the future or how your body used to be in the past, but today!
Going back to the start about how I didn't used to enjoy down dog.... well thats not the case anymore. This is probably one of my favourite asanas. Its simply yet effective.
Allows you to stretch the backs of your legs and feet.
Stretches and strengthens your shoulders and wrists.
Allows a healthy flow of blood to the head which nourishes the brain.
Helps calm the mind.
Can help prepare for inversions (Which are a favourite of mine)
Pushing strong through the hands, pressing through each finger to ensure the weight is spread across the whole hand and not just on the wrists. Keeping the shoulders broad and creating space between the shoulder blades. Releasing the head and neck so your gaze is between your ankles and knees. A nice long strong back, while drawing the belly button in towards the spine. Pushing the hips up high. Either keeping the knees bent or if its comfortable straighten the legs. Keep a micro bend in the elbows and knees to protect the weight baring joints, especially if you are hypermobile.