Adhomukha vajrasan

Adhomukha vajrasan is the sanskrit for downward facing hero pose.  It is an excellent restorative pose when you are feeling tired, stressed or overwhelmed. It is also a good posture to start your yoga session with as it gently stretches and warms up the body.

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Begin by being on all fours on the mat (on your hands and knees). Place the sides of your big toes together. Gently lower your buttocks to sit on your heels.  Ensure that your legs are wide enough apart so that your ribs touch the inside of your thighs as you come forward. Stretch your body forward, placing your forehead flat on the mat with your arms extended out in front of you. Spread your fingers well with your middle finger facing forward and your thumbs facing each other.

Tuck your tailbone under to lengthen the spine.  If you don’t know where your tailbone is, think of where a tail is on a monkey and that should help.  By tucking the tailbone under, it helps to lengthen your spine. Pressurise the tops of the feet by pushing them into the mat to alleviate any stress on your knees. Do not let your forearms touch the floor; imagine lifting your wrist skin up towards your armpits. Activate the upper arms by bringing your tricep muscle towards the bone and pushing your bicep muscle away from the bone.  If you can physically do this, then you will the tightening of the upper arm.  If you find this difficult, this action will come in time.  For now, just imagine this movement.

If you find that your buttocks are not touching your heels or that your forehead does not reach the ground easily, you can use props to assist you.

If your forehead is not reaching the floor, simply place a block under your forehead.

If your heels cannot sit on your buttocks, place a block between your heels and buttock

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If you have a stiff back, use a bolster and a blanket

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Benefits of the posture: relieves tiredness, dizziness, breathlessness and pain in the back and neck. Reduces high blood pressure.  Alleviates menstrual pain and depression associated with menstruation.