Floating Forward from Downward Facing Dog into Standing Forward Fold

Now it's not a posture, but it's a transition that I get a lot of questions on. 

How do I float forward from Down Dog?

I was originally drawn to vinyasa yoga because of the big beautiful postures and the flowing transitions. Of course my preferences have shifted throughout the years, but I still see value in the energetic, almost acrobatic aspects of vinyasa yoga. Floating or jumping forward from Downward Facing Dog into a Standing Forward Fold was always something I wanted to master, but it felt clunky for so long. Understanding the relationship between my hands and my shoulders in the transition are what have transformed the transition for me into something that feels effortless and very freeing. 

Here's some tips that have helped me:

First, the hands. I have relatively tight shoulders and lifting heavy weights isn't exactly helping the causing. I have found that turning my hands slightly outward in Downward Facing Dog allows for me to easily laterally rotate my shoulders so that they're in an ideal place to support my body when floating forward. You might be able to see in the video below that I'm screwing my hands into my mat to get my shoulders to wrap forward toward my my ribs. Also, your hands are your brakes when you're upside down. Use them! Use your fingers to grip your mat to slow you down and give you more control. (I apologize for the giant videos, but I'm a yoga teacher and not a web designer for a reason.)

Second, consider how you take off from Downward Facing Dog. I typically go through the following checklist before I jump forward:

  • Step your feet a little closer to your hands. It's a pretty long distance between the hands and feet in Down Dog. Why not make your life easier and shorten up that distance?
  • Bring your feet all the way together. With your feet together you're more compact and you'll have more control. 
  • Bend your knees enough to touch your belly to your thighs. Again, the more compact you are the more control you'll have. 
  • Look where you're going. Want your feet to land between your hands? Look there! 
  • Hop up on an exhalation. Use your inhalation to bend your knees and when you've completed your exhalation that's when you find the most success. 

Give it shot! And if you crash and burn, who cares? Just have fun with it! Happy floating, yogis!