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How to Assist Your Friend in Downward-Facing Dog

If you've ever wondered how to make your students' or friends' postures more enjoyable and aligned, these simple assists are the best way to begin.

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These adjustments are simple and safe. They will allow you to assist your friend in Downward-Facing Dog and help you to start thinking about how to bring ease and depth into someone else’s practice. When you assist, err on the side of caution and start gently. Have your down-dogger communicate with you so you can begin to apply more pressure and find the exact right points of contact. Accept their feedback and use it to become the best adjuster you can be. Your students and friends will thank you.


Ground their hands.  This is the simplest and one of the most enjoyable adjustments for Downward Dog! Press your hands into theirs, so that their hands root evenly.  This will bring a sense of security to their dog and will evenly distribute the weigh in their hands.

Pull on their inner thighs. This adjustment is designed to create internal rotation in their upper thighs and to move weight out of the hands and into the legs. 

Cross your wrists and grab for the front of their thighs.

Pull back in space, essentially alleviating pressure in their hands and  creating space in their spine. Communicate with your partner to see how much force you can apply.


From our partner: Stunning Photos of Yoga Around the World


Press on the back of their pelvis.  Pretty much everyone loves receiving this adjustment.  Instantly weight is taken out of the hands and traction and space are created in the spine. Place your hands like in the picture and you want to press forward and up. The upward lift is key, as that is what will give them a sense of relief and a redistribution of weight.

Rotate the armpits.  Flexible people often dump into their shoulders and stress the joint by overdoing their Downward-Facing Dog for the sake of sensation.  This adjustment helps keep their shoulders safe by preventing hypermobility.  Place your hands on on their upper arms and rotate their armpits toward one another. It’s nice to do this and then adjustment one in conjunction with one another.


Read More: 4 Essential Steps for Hands-On Adjustments


Photos by Chloe Crespi

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