Pose: Downward Facing Dog
Sanskrit Name: Adhomukha Svanasana
How do I set up for the pose?
One sandbag. Four blocks. One belt.
Pranayama – Breath work
Inhale and exhale rhythmically in the pose to center yourself into the present moment.
Step one = Align
Align your body, heart, and mind with your intention.
Pause and reflect. Decide how you want to feel while you are in the pose. Ask yourself these questions: What do you need to let go of (exhale)? What do you want to receive (inhale)?
Step two = Energize
Read How do I practice the pose? first. Do your best to remember the directions, but try not to get caught up in doing the pose perfectly. Once you get a sense of the directions in the pose, feel the positive emotion(s) and match that with your intention. Breathe mindfully. Then, and only if it’s comfortable for you, close your eyes, disconnect from the world, and feel the positive emotion(s) you want to feel.
Step three = Heal
Repeat the pose 3 times on each side. You are repeating the pose to unlearn imbalanced movement patterns and relearn balanced movement patterns to relieve neck and shoulder pain.
Caution If downward facing dog hurts your wrists at all, try practicing the pose with the second sandbag under your hands. Or, reset the position of the mat, so the short edge of the mat is at a wall. Place two blocks lengthwise, between the edge of the mat and the wall. Position yourself in downward facing dog. Then, place your hands on the blocks. You get more lift in your arms with your hands on the blocks so that more of your weight transfers into your legs.
How do I practice the pose?
Align. Set up your intention.
Energize the upper core by connecting your hands with the earth’s energies.
Energize your feet, shins, and legs to engage your lower core.
Energize your hands, forearms, and upper arms to engage your upper core.
Heal. Breathe rhythmically and mindfully. If possible, remain in the pose long enough to feel the elevated positive emotion(s) you want to feel.
Exit the pose.
Once you are in the pose, go within. Breathe rhythmically and mindfully.
How do I exit the pose?
I have known Kari for a number of years. She is unequaled in her dedication to using yoga as a vehicle to understand her place in the world and make an impact in the lives of those she encounters. She has a deep knowledge of the workings of the human body – derived from her personal practice and her many years of teaching. She approaches each individual as a unique person and treats all with respect. Besides that, she has a great sense of humor and an assured yet gentle manner."
Kari Tomashik is a true and kind teacher of Eischens Yoga. She has taken Roger Eischen’s groundbreaking work much further. Kari is both a very clear communicator who can help the uninitiated and experienced practitioner to learn about their body/mind/spirit, and an experimenter who keeps her ego out of the way of her focus on the learner.
I met Kari on my travels in Pai, (Thailand). I was so lucky to have the chance to practice with her on my morning sessions. Kari showed me with a few words and gentle adjustments the way to open my heart. But more valuable to integrate & strengthen that open heart. Kari is an authentic,natural born teacher who shares her experience from deep down in her beautiful heart! Everlasting gratitude."
I had the distinct pleasure of studying yoga and taking classes with Roger and Kari in Madison for around four years. I learned volumes! As another student put it, their method of teaching is like the “philosopher’s stone” applied to yoga. Classes were both insightful and delightful on account of Kari’s whimsical sense of humor. The vibe was intense and focused yet without taking anything too seriously. We had fun while devoting ourselves to precise alignment. I highly recommend their Iyengar-style technique and Kari‘s personal teaching style!"