How to Have Healthy Shoulders in Downward Dog

When I’m 85 years old, I want to practice Downward Dog.

I want to remain limber, both mentally and physically, as I age. I want to be able to support myself and contribute to the world as long as possible. If I can keep practicing Down Dog, then my chances of maintaining freedom and independence are pretty good.

One key to a lifelong practice of Adho Mukha Shvanasana is strong and flexible shoulders. “Healthy Shoulders,” I like to say. Since I intend to practice Dog pose pretty much every day for the rest of my life, I better make sure I have good habits!

Here’s the technique I use to have a Healthy-Shoulders-Habit in Dog pose.

  • Come into Downward Facing Dog pose.
  • Inhale and lengthen from hips to shoulders.
  • Lift your armpits both up, towards the sky, and forward, towards your fingernails.
  • Keep your upper arm bones lifted.
  • Exhale and relax around the back of your heart.
  • Melt your chest into the lift of your arm bones.
  • Draw your shoulder blades onto your upper back to deepen the bend in your thoracic spine.

For more on how you can maintain Healthy Shoulders in all your poses, check out my eBook in the Apple store!