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Ask Aunt Yoga Advice Column: Heels Down in Downward Facing Dog

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Updated September 23, 2012

Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog

© Barry Stone
Question: Ask Aunt Yoga Advice Column: Heels Down in Downward Facing Dog
Dear Aunt Yoga,

In downward facing dog, I cannot get my heals completely to the floor. Is that a future goal to work towards?

R.B.

Answer: Dear R.B.,

Pictures of downward dog quite often show the heels touching the floor. But is this really the goal of the pose? In my practice, the answer is no. Downward facing dog is a whole body pose, and one of areas that gets the nicest stretches is the back of the legs. If your heels are hitting the floor, you're not getting that stretch. In fact, some teachers will instruct students whose heels do come easily to the floor to scoot their feet back a bit until the heels come off the floor again. Now, you don't want to take this too far and end up in a plank, but the point is, don't worry too much about the heels being off the floor; it's a good place to be in this pose.

And one more thing: though it's useful to know what an ideal pose looks like, try not to get too attached to attaining these sorts of goals in your yoga practice. One of yoga's lessons is to be in the present and let go of the constant grasping after achievement, and that goes double for grasping after achievement of yoga poses.

Namaste,

Aunt Yoga

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