Long before Yoga studios began to appear in every town, learning the asanas took years of dedicated study. A student would work with one teacher over many years, combining formal education with self-study. Ultimately, the student owned and was responsible for their own practice.
Yoga from the ground up
Adho mukha svanasana is many things at once. Its essence is a spinal extension, but it is also an inversion and a forward bend. It lengthens the hamstrings and strengthens the muscles along the front of the legs. It opens the shoulders and releases tension in the upper back and neck. If you only have time for one pose each day, adho mukha svanasana would do just fine.
How to do downward dog
Take time to tune in to the subtle shifts that make all the difference in this pose. Make sure you are not hyperextending your shoulders, elbows or knees. Rotate your upper arm bones away from your head, bringing your shoulder blades down your back toward your waist. Stay here for 15 to 20 breaths, release and feel the full benefit of this pose.
Adho mukha svanasana from the ground up
Rotate your upper arm bones away from your ears to move the shoulder blades down your back and bring your ears between your upper arms. Your gaze looks toward either your big toes or your navel, but your head follows the extension of your spine.