Over the years I've realized that "advancing" your practice isn't about doing the big, fancy, cover of Yoga Journal postures. It's more about refining your practice. As a student and teacher I'm excited by deepening my understanding of the "basic" postures. I like to get into the tiniest details of alignment and I thoroughly enjoy the process of helping students find their own unique alignment in common postures.
This brings us to Downward Facing Dog. What a complex posture! For the first five or so years of my practice I didn't appreciate Down Dog. I felt like I was working too hard and wanted to quickly move out of it. Now I feel very differently. Down Dog feels free and supportive in my body. I am definitely still working physically, but my body seems to be working in such a balanced manner that nothing seems to be over-working.
What helped me get to this point? Figuring out what my shoulders were doing in Downward Facing Dog! I truly think the shoulders are the missing link in this common posture. To help you find more joy and freedom in your Downward Facing Dog I put together a short video explaining the movements of your shoulder joints while you're upside-down with your arms in an overhead position. Check it out!