Improve Your Dancing With Yoga: Warming Up - The Indian Way.

Guest Writer: Lubosch Bublák       Editing And Translation: Kerstin Lange      
Photography: Pictures courtesy of Lubosch Bublák / Digital Processing: Helmut Römhild

Adho Mukha Svanasana ...
Adho – what? Ok, simply call the pose ‘Downward Facing Dog’


Yoga Hund

Of course you don’t have to be familiar with Sanskrit to exercise yoga –  it’s sufficient to do it: the effect unfolds when you bring your body in position.

Animals move instinctively and know what is best for them. By imitating a cat or a dog we can also stretch until we feel good.


A Dog Looking Down ...

The pose is called ‘Adho Mukha Svanasana’ which means: a dog facing downwards.

The effect:
Like any other yoga posture the triangular ‘Downward Dog’ has an impact both on body and mind.

Give hands and feet the correct space, observe the important details while stretching and the ‘Downward Dog’ will surprise you with a wide scope of effects.

Pushing the upper body away from the hands by contracting the upper arms’ muscles is the first step, stretching the muscles of the shoulder joint.

At the same time the balls of the thumbs stay in contact with the floor to allow an even pressure across the 8 carpal bones just below the wrist.
The pose will also give you the opportunity to benefit from an outward rotation of the upper arm. You can also lift your hand by arching the metacarpal bones which form the middle part of your hand.


Lubosch Bublak

Gastautor: Lubosch Bublák

Yoga teacher, former competition dancer,

Improve Your Dancing With Yoga.

In a short sequel of articles Lubosch Bublák will introduce yoga postures which are helpful for dancers.

Using these yoga poses immediately before entering a competition a dancer can harmonize body and mind, make muscles, tendons and joints flexible and strong and considerably reduce stress:
Only a well-balanced organism can fully use the music’s potential.

While going through their yoga exercises 5000 years ago the Indians probably didn’t consider any implications for Slow Waltz or Samba. Nevertheless dancers can benefit from yoga by using a short sequence of postures to raise awareness and concentration.

There is simply no time to fully exercise yoga before a competition starts. But even a brief sequence, easy to go through, giving the final touch to all the other preparations and training will show results as if by magic.


It Starts In The Legs.

The beginner will immediately feel that something is going on the legs.
Making the heels touch the ground leads to several muscles respond with pain: The back of the thights, the tendons in the knees but above all the (very often) tense muscles of the calves.

There is more to observe: besides breathing faster there is also a feeling as if the head is growing heavier, as if more blood is flowing into the head, which is not the case.

the yoga pose will make a person feel comfortable, will make a person feel fresh and alert and eager to meet the next challenge  – like a cat or a dog, stretching and then briskly and happily leaping forward.

The ‘Downward Facing Dog’ helps to strengthen certain muscles while stretching others and gently, from inside the body, gets rid of tense shoulders and a tense back.

The triangle shape brings the body upside-down in a simple way. The result: A steady breathing, the body at ease, the heart relieved.

The ‘Downward Facing Dog’ helps to feel fresh and rested, relaxed. It helps to find a new perspective and feel comfortable, calm and free.

A Head Start for Winners!

How do dancers benefit from this yoga position?

In order to to dance with full control over the body it is necessary to build strong and at the same time flexible muscles while avoiding injuries. This is only possible if the body is warmed up.

The ‘Downward Dog’ pose helps to get warm and specifically work out the back parts of ankles and knees.
The vital amount of oxygen is provided by the deep breathing typical for yoga exercises.

The ‘Downward Dog’ pose is the perfect means for the dancer reach the body temperature necessary for preparing the muscles.

There is no need to jump up and down until the muscles become stiff or endlessly jog around the dancing floor.

Stress, meaning distress, is the cause for rigid muscles and impedes the performance.
The ‘Downward Dog’ pose is an efficient stress relief and lets the dancer relax while being fully concentrated.

By the way: There is a hairstyle friendly variant of the ‘Downward Dog’ pose. Ladys who want to acchieve mental and physical balance just before they go into competition simply lift their head a little until they can see the floor between their hands.

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Updated: 29.04.2009