KateZena

Bringing Heels Down Downward Dog & Equestrian Poses

9 posts in this topic

Hey! I've been looking for some help. I have tight leg muscles from Autism that are slowly loosening and stretching thanks to horseback riding and daily yoga, but one problem I have is when I go into something like a downward dog pose, I can't get my heels to touch the floor. They just hang in the air because my muscles are too tight still. How do I get them to hit the floor?

Also, does anyone know any poses that are great for equestrians aside from Downward Dog, Pigeon (I do a basic pigeon), Plank and Cobra? I get bored so easily!

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It takes time...a lot of time, and patience too. Try legs up the wall for five to ten minutes as a pre-exercise warmup. Don't worry about bringing your heels down, that's not the goal. The goal is to elevate your hips skywards, bring your upper back down and this will help stretch your hamstrings. Micro bend your knees.

Some (like me) never bring the heels down. 

 

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Yea, it used to be a lot worse! I used to be on tippy toes last year; now I'm three or four inches from the ground. I couldn't even touch the ground when I did fold overs last year (I was half past my shin); I can just touch my toes now with my fingertips! It's very slow work. I'm really glad I've been finding nice poses and I haven't been falling over!

YogaByCandace likes this

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I was talking to a yoga teacher, when I asked a question and I uttered the word "can't"...he quickly interrupted me and said, "then you're not doing yoga...in yoga, you don't worry about what you can't do, instead, you should celebrate what you can"

Just keep practicing and remember the brilliant words from @YogaByCandace..."practice makes progress"

Here's my advice, continue with your regular practice for the next thirty years, if after that period of time, you're still having difficulty, give it another ten or fifteen years. I guarantee that you'll no longer be worried about your heels. 

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Downward Dog is a pose that is probably best used for lengthening and strengthening the spine. Lengthening the back of the hips and the back of the legs is part of the pose but probably not the best choice for that focus. Here is a couple of links for this pose 

https://www.byronyoga.com/asana-spotlight-adho-mukha-svanasana/ 

https://www.ihanuman.com/asana/adho-mukha-svanasana

To lengthen the back of the legs, the hamstrings, the information in this link is better for that http://www.yogajournal.com/article/practice-section/long-and-strong/

Sometimes it helps not to worry about making what we think is the perfect yoga picture. How high the heels are isn't really a concern in Downward Dog. Instead focus on how the pose can serve us with the most benefit.

Welcome to our community.

HGB likes this

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26 minutes ago, Anahata said:

..Sometimes it helps not to worry about making what we think is the perfect yoga picture. .... Instead focus on how the pose can serve us with the most benefit....

+1

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On 07/06/2016 at 9:23 PM, Anahata said:

Downward Dog is a pose that is probably best used for lengthening and strengthening the spine. Lengthening the back of the hips and the back of the legs is part of the pose but probably not the best choice for that focus. Here is a couple of links for this pose 

I have to agree with this, I physically can straighten my legs and touch my heels to the floor but often I will be in down dog with my knees bent quite significantly in order to straighten my back. I wouldn't stress about this one. If your legs are tight I think general yoga classes/videos will be your friend KateZena :)

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5 hours ago, Jasmine said:

I have to agree with this, I physically can straighten my legs and touch my heels to the floor but often I will be in down dog with my knees bent quite significantly in order to straighten my back. I wouldn't stress about this one. If your legs are tight I think general yoga classes/videos will be your friend KateZena :)

+1

The problem is people are too focused on trying to achieve the "look" of the pose, rather than understanding that the pose is designed to work a certain part of the body. I love looking around the room in "seated forward fold", nearly everyone curves their back so they can touch their toes. I keep mine straight (thanks to a teacher that used to pound my back with her fists when I rounded my back) and hold a strap acoss the balls of my feet, angling forward...slightly.

Everyone wants to achieve that "Instagram pose", not me :) 

Jasmine and brenskip55 like this

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This is a common place many yogis can find themselves in. For me, I'm not sure what it is about my ankles, but they have always been pretty flexible. From my experiences, and if your goal is "heel to floor", than always make sure your other foundations are strong.

Such as arms shoulder width apart, eyes of elbows rotated outward away from navel, all five fingers are widely planted firmly against the earth along with your palm giving equal distribution of weight to all areas, gaze is between hands or at navel, and find the "hollowing and lifting of your armpits". Place hips where comfortable (usually hip width-although if your trying to achieve heels to floor, keeping them a bit wider might help this case), with a strong upper body, muscle engaged, stand on the balls of your feet, reach your tail bone to the sky, bend your knees deeply so your belly rests on your thighs, breath, and release your heels to the floor. Repeat this every class you take, and always remember to link breath to moment. When releasing your heels to the earth, you should be exhaling, and surrending into that space your creating.

Good luck :)

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