It's three o'clock and it seems that your day at the office is just starting. It's one of those days when coffee alone is not going to cut it. If there were only a way to remove fatigue and revitalize your afternoon. But wait there is such a thing: AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna) adho = downward mukha = face svana = dog
or as we lovingly call it Down Dog pose.
Mr. Iyengar himself says that Down Dog "is an exhilarating pose." From removing fatigue and eradicating stiffness in the shoulder region to toning your abdominal muscles and legs, Down Dog is a super pose. However getting on the office floor mid afternoon could be time restricted or perhaps just plain embarrassing. In addition to other at-your-desk poses that I practice, I like to practice this Desk Down Dog which bring some of those amazing benefits of the full pose, OK it is still a bit embarrassing, but you will make new friends with all the extra energy you will have.
Step by Step
Facing the desk stand with the feet a bit wider than hip distance apart; 8" to 12 " apart. Feet are parallel to each other. Begin to inhale and exhale through your nose, allowing the inner body to stay bright and your skin softens. Keep this breath throughout the pose. Uji breathing if you know it. [Stand on the side of your desk that offers more space.]
Bent your knees a little bit and place the palms of your hands on the desk. Spread your palms, index fingers parallel or slightly turned out. Keeping the palms of your hands firmly pressed on the desk, begin to walk backwards away from the desk till you create an L shape with your torso and legs (see sketch). Keep breathing into your back body, particularly in the kidney area, so that you feel your lower ribs integrated into your body.
Then with an exhalation, push your top thighs back and stretch your leg bones down toward the floor. Straighten your knees but be sure not to lock them.
Firm the outer arms and press the bases of the index fingers actively into the desktop. From these two points lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the head between the upper arms; don't let it hang. Can you keep the heart soft? Imagine the heart as a drop of melted chocolate dropping down towards the floor! Enjoy the pose for a minute or two.
When you are ready to come out of the pose, you can bend your knees and walk forward till you are standing again. If you have extra time you can add to this down dog some other desk yoga poses.