Downward Facing Dog Pose

Yoga Pose: Downward Facing Dog

Pose of the Month:  Downward Facing Dog Pose

Sanskrit:  Adho Mukha Svanasana

How to Pronounce:  (AH-DO MOO-KAH-SHVA-NAH-SUN-UH)

Downward facing dog pose may be the quintessential pose that comes to mind when yoga comes up in conversation.  This pose, no matter how foundational it may be or how many times you practice it, is filled with endless opportunities to learn and adapt.  After learning the basics of the posture, we can discover more length and levels of comfort that you can bring onto your mat every time you come into this pose.

Instructions:

  1. Come to table top position placing your hands shoulder width apart and knees hip distance apart
  2. Spread the fingers and align middle fingers and wrist creases forward
  3. Press evenly through the fingers, knuckles and outer edges of the hands
  4. Tuck your toes under so the balls of your feet press into the mat
  5. Press into the hands while lifting the hips to create an inverted triangle shape with the body
  6. Reach the heels without rounding the back to feel a stretching sensation in the back of the legs
  7. Lengthen equally through the side body
  8. Roll the shoulder blades down the back and open the collar bone to allow more space in the heart center
  9. Align the ears with the biceps while externally rotating the inner elbows forward
  10. Look between your knees and soften your gaze
  11. Breathe deeply 4-8 breaths
  12. To release bend the knees and lower into table top or come all the way down to Child’s Pose

Benefits:

  • Deeply stretches the back and opens the chest
  • Builds upper body strength
  • Mild inversion
  • Stimulates the brain and nervous system improving memory, concentration, hearing and eyesight

Contraindications:

  • Recent or chronic injury to the back, hips, arms or shoulders
  • Unmediated high blood pressure
  • Not advisable for eye injuries and glaucoma

Mindfulness

  • Downward dog is meant to be practiced with a neutral spine respecting the “s” curves of the lumber, thoracic and cervical vertebrae
  • However, many lack flexibility in the hamstrings and end up compensating by flexing (rounding) the lower back which can lead to injury
  • We can access the “s” curve by bending the knees and lifting through the hips while creating the proper hinge at the hip

Modifications:

  • Use blocks under the hands or head
  • Place a folded towel under the wrists
  • Press both heels against a wall
  • Roll a blanket under the heels

Variations:

  • One Leg Downward Dog with internal or external rotation of the extended leg/hip
  • Downward Dog Twist
  • Dolphin Pose

Vinyasa Sequence Suggestions:

  • Build a sequence leading up to this pose:  Table Top, Cat, Cow, Head to Knee movement (Tiger), Bear Plank
  • Build a sequence ending after this pose:  Plank, Upward Facing Dog, Childs, High Lunge

Try a class in our new boutique yoga studio, The Practice.

Yoga Pose: Salabhasana

half moon pose newtown pa

Yoga Pose: Ardha Chandrasana

Each month, we highlight one fundamental yoga pose that can help improve your overall practice. We will break down each pose, show you how to get into it safely and highlight its benefits!

The yoga pose of July is Ardha Chandrasana or Half Moon Pose.

Learn the basics:

Ardha Chandrasana is similar to Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). Half Moon offers the practitioner length and strength in all four limbs of the body. Once entered, the yogi’s heart is wide open, reflecting the bright and shining rays of the moon in the sky and both the arms and legs are in extension, reaching from the earth to the stars. This wide open shape encourages a feeling of freedom and power in the practitioner, as though they are stretching out across a great sky. 

Ardha Chandrasana is a challenging standing balance, requiring both strength and focus to achieve: the standing leg must externally rotate at the hip so that the pelvis and torso open to face one side of the room, hips and ribs stacked on a vertical plane. The other leg is lifted and extended to the back of the room, while the arms intersect the body, one actively reaching upward as the other stretches down toward the mat or a block.

Other variations of Half Moon Pose include floating fingertips off of the mat to find Gyana mudra. Half Moon can be bound either with the arms between the legs or in Ardha Chandra Chapasana, Sugarcane Pose, in which the yogi grasps the lifted foot behind them to create a half bow. It can also be twisted (Parivritta Ardha Chandrasana).

Getting into the pose:

  • Begin from Warrior II, right foot forward
  • Stretch the torso forward, reaching with the right fingertips
  • Plant the fingertips down 8-12” in front of the right foot
  • Place the left hand on the left hip
  • Straighten out the right leg and you float the left foot upward
    • Left leg is in line with the height of the left hip, flexed foot
    • Microbend the right knee to keep muscular engagement
    • Stack the hips, left on top of right 
    • Roll the left shoulder open
    • Gaze down in front of right foot
  • Once stable, extend the left arm to the sky
  • Take 10-15 breaths
    • Engage the belly
    • Lighten the weight in the right fingertips
    • Gaze can move up to the left hand
  • Release the pose and repeat on the left side

To try one of our yoga classes, or for more information, please fill out our form below!

Supta Baddha Konasana Newtown PA

Yoga Pose: Supta Baddha Konasana

Each month, we highlight one fundamental yoga pose that can help improve your overall practice. We will break down each pose, show you how to get into it safely, highlight its benefits and offer some pro tips!

The yoga pose of June is Supta Baddha Konasana or Reclined Bound Angle.

Learn the basics:

Supta Baddha Konasana is an amazing and transformative asana. It is a cooling, relaxing restorative pose that opens the hips, and if done with a support behind the back, it also serves as a heart opener. Students of all levels and limitations can safely practice the pose, especially when props are used. While in the shape, gravity works to deepen the stretch in your hip flexors and hips as your mind clears and relaxes, bringing you into a deep union of body, mind and spirit. It is especially beneficial to students who require cooling like menopausal and pregnant women, and students who are suffering from low back and hip discomforts, sleeplessness, and anxiety. It also just feels plain amazing!

Pregnant students should never lie fully flat on their backs, so props must be used. Other students will benefit from the use of props. To lift the back, use two blocks at the rear of the mat to form a capital ‘L’, placing a bolster on top to make a ramp. Students can use a rolled blanket or second bolster to support the knees. Other students may benefit from blocks or a rolled up blanket under each knee to reduce the strain on the groin. Blankets over the body, eye pillows and the use of essential oils are also beneficial. There should be no tension in the body when in this shape.

Instructions:

  • If you are using props (which is highly recommended to sustain the posture for several minutes), set them up in preparation for coming fully on to your back.
  • Bend your knees, keeping the soles of your feet on the floor. Slowly come on to your back or supportive props.
  • Open your knees out to either side and bring the soles of your feet together. Use any additional props to aid your relaxation.
  • Place your arms in any comfortable position – arms at sides with palms up, arms at sides with palms down, arms overhead, arms on your belly following the path of your breath, etc.
  • Stay here several minutes as gravity works to deepen your stretch. You may begin with a controlled pranayama practice and then release the breath halfway through the pose to completely surrender. If you are practicing at home, set a timer for five or 10 minutes so you can completely relax.
  • To come out, draw the hands to the knees and allow them to sway left and right to release the hips. Roll over to the side (left for pregnant students), and use your hands to support you as you sit up.
  • Finish with your hands on your heart in reverence for the practice.
  • Bring all that juicy goodness with you through the rest of your day off the mat!

To try one of our yoga classes, or for more information, please fill out our form below!

Savasana Newtown PA

Yoga Pose: Savasana

Each month, we highlight one fundamental yoga pose that can help improve your overall practice and understanding. We will break down each pose, show you how to get into it safely, highlight its benefits and offer some pro tips!

The yoga pose for May is Savasana.

Getting into the pose: 

This seemingly simple, yet complex, pose is done by lying on your back with your arms and legs extended by your sides a little wider than your body. Eyes are closed and your breath is deep. The whole body is relaxed.

Benefits:

The benefits we receive from Savasana include: relaxing your central nervous system and calming your mind, stress relief, shifts to slower brain waves, reduces insomnia and helps improve sleep, reduces headache and fatigue and relieve depression. It’s also an opportunity for your body to simultaneously integrate and let go of the yoga practice just experienced. Many consider it the most beautiful and important pose in yoga.


[The Practice] Updates:

Our new mats are in for the new studio! Here are some photos of them to get you excited.

Lululemon Mat 2 Newtown PA Lululemon Mat 1 Newtown PA Lululemon Mat 3 Newtown PA


Interested in trying out a yoga class? Fill out the form below!

Utkatasana Pose

Yoga Pose: Chair (Utkatasana)

Each month, we highlight one fundamental yoga pose that can help improve your overall practice and understanding. We will break down each pose, show you how to get into it safely, highlight its benefits and offer some pro tips!

The yoga pose for April is Chair Pose.

Let’s learn the basics:

Chair pose, or Utkatasana, strengthens the muscles in front and back of your thighs, strengthens hip flexors, ankles, calves, and back muscles. It tones your core muscles and increases ankle mobility and reduces symptoms of flat feet. It is said to stimulate the heart, diaphragm and abdominal organs.

Let’s get into the pose:

  1. Stand at the front of your mat. The feet should be parallel. You can choose whether to bring your feet to touch or to keep them hips’ distance apart. If your feet are touching, your knees will be touching in the final pose and if your feet are apart, your knees should also stay apart.
  2. Bend both your knees, taking your butt/hips back, as if you were reaching back for an imaginary chair. As your hips are moving back and downward, draw your straight arms with palms facing toward each other, straight up above the shoulders. Root down through your heels and keep your toes down for balance.
  3. Deepen your “seat” to a point where you can hold this position for several breaths. For most people, that’s going to be with the thighs at roughly a 45-degree angle to the floor, but you can go deeper. If your feet are separated, make sure that your knees stay over your ankles.
  4. With your butt is sticking out, draw your sit bones inward towards each other. The pelvis should be at an angle but stay aligned with the spine.
  5. Draw your belly button gently toward your spine to engage the core and support your lower back. If your rib cage is sticking out make sure to draw it back in.
  6. Keep your arms parallel to each other with the palms facing or bring the palms to touch without your shoulders creeping up towards your ears. Slide your shoulder blades down your back.
  7. To come out of the pose, either press through the feet to come to standing, or bed forward into a forward fold.

Tips:

If you choose to keep your legs together it will feel steadier but moving them apart gives you a more stable base. Try both ways to see which one you prefer!

To deepen in chair pose, roll your shoulders back to open your chest while in your “seat.”


To try one of our yoga classes, or for more information, please fill out our form below!

Yoga Warrior 3

Yoga Pose: Warrior III

Each month, we highlight one fundamental yoga pose that can help improve your overall practice and understanding. We will break down each pose, show you how to get into it safely, highlight its benefits and offer some pro tips!

The yoga pose of March is Warrior III.

Let’s learn the basics:

Warrior III pose, or Virabhadrasana III, is a strong, active pose that strengthens the ankles and legs, tones the muscles of the abdomen, and stretches the chest, shoulders and hamstrings. It also helps train the mind to stay focused with a steady gaze by keeping a light attitude while practicing. This pose also helps to improve balance and coordination and posture.

Let’s get into pose:

  1. Starting by standing in mountain pose and your feet hip distance apart
    • Spread your toes wide and plant them to the mat
  2. Take a deep breath in and raise your arms high, exhale and slowly raise your right leg back straight back and engage your left leg
    • Keep both legs strong and straight without locking them
  3. Bring your torso parallel to the floor and flex your core to create stability
    • Keep your gaze down
    • Stay in the pose for about 5 – 10 breaths or until you reached your comfort level
  1. To come out of the pose, slowly bring your right foot back down to the mat and bring your torso back to a vertical position
  2. When you are ready, begin on the opposite side

Tips:

If you find you are wobbling, practice this pose with your hands touching a wall or the back of a tall chair. You can also try lightly resting your hands on two blocks placed below the shoulders. This will help you get used to the actions in the body while helping with your balance.


This 45,000 Sq. Ft. renovation/expansion places a heavy focus on 6 boutique group exercise studios for the various exercise modalities. Each of these areas will have its own brand (look, style, and name) in order to demonstrate the uniqueness of each modality and the already wide variety of proficiency that we offer to the member experience all under one roof.

To try out a yoga class, please fill out the form below.

Warrior II Yoga Pose

Yoga Pose: Warrior II

Each month, we highlight one fundamental yoga pose that can help improve your overall practice. We will break down each pose, show you how to get into it safely, highlight its benefits and offer some pro tips!
Warrior II
Let’s learn the basics:
Virabhadrasana II, otherwise known as Warrior II is a basic pose found in many practices. The warrior is strong, centered, and fierce. Unlike other warrior poses (Warrior I and Warrior III) the practitioner’s hips are externally rotated, symbolizing a sense of vulnerability and openness.
With arms striking like lightning behind to the past and forward to the future with the gaze, this warrior is also balanced in the state of the present. Warrior II destructs the narrative of our past with ease and clears the way for our future endeavors. We can use this embodiment to symbolically claim our power back by releasing what has blocked our ability to move forward and create the future we desire while focusing on our breath; centered, stable, and empowered in the vulnerable present moment.
Let’s get into pose:
  1. Step your feet wide on either end of the mat
  2. Turn your front foot so your toes face forward and back foot perpendicular
    -Your feet line up front heel to back arch
    -Feet are flat, back pinky toe presses into the mat
  3. Front knee bends so it is directly over the ankle without compensating the integrity of the knee joint
    -You should be able to see your front big toe, knee points toward the second and third toe
    -Knee does not go beyond the ankle
  4. Arms raise to the height of the shoulders directing straight forward and back
    – Flat hands, palms face down, shoulders relax
  5. Gaze is over the front fingertips
  6. Explore the balance between “effort and ease”
  7. Hold for 5-8 breaths and switch sides

If you haven’t heard the big news – we’re breaking boundaries within our club and currently expanding our group exercise wing with 3 brand new studios, including a state of the art yoga, hot yoga & barre studio!

Try a class