Laruga in Manila 2016: Your Downward Dog

Being new in practice (If you’re a yogi practicing at least 5 years) there are so much fundamentals for a yogi to learn and we tend to forget to be mindful of our asanas. Over the weekend, the amazing folks of Yoga Tribe brought in Laruga Yoga in Manila. It was a perfect opportunity to expand our awareness inside the poses we may have found most challenging in our practice.

I must say, my entire arm felt the sore. I typically feel the good sore in different areas of my body but this time, with Laruga’s teaching, I got to activate my arms correctly. As they say, where the good sore is, those are the weak spots your body felt needs a lot to be worked on and strengthen.

Laruga’s objective during the weekend workshop was to awaken our core: the Bandhas, Breath and to get into our arm balances with power and grace plus having to deconstruct how to transition properly by working back on our vinyasa.

It may sound simple but having to point out every movement gave us the experience on why our Bandhas (core) are important in our practice. This is something you get to hear over and over again especially athletes who are working on their strength and flexibility in different fields yet we tend to neglect.

Through repetition, you’ll eventually find comfort. If done correctly, it’ll be beneficial. Mindfully and Intellectually practice your asanas.


Deconstructing our asanas, the downward facing Dog pose was pointed out as the most fundamental in our practice as it is often done in preparation to warm up backbends; it’s intertwined in all the vinyasa and sun salutations.

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If you’re not comfortable on the downward dog, you may do the modified version. It’s okay if your heels doesn’t seem to reach the ground just yet (mine doesn’t!).

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In order for you to avoid having painful wrists and arms, you’d have to be mindful of each movement. You really want to make sure you’re not collapsing weight into the base of the hands, but rather, keep actively pushing the mat away by pressing into the base of the fingers and the fingertips. You may also roll the front of the mat and rest your wrist when you push you push the mat away.

Misalignment in downward dog can lead to tension in the body as practitioners struggle to hold the pose; or, even worse, strain in the wrists, shoulders, and beyond due to improper weight distributionIt’s important to also check on your overall alignment.

  • Let go of your head – avoid the tension.
  • Elbows rotate outward
  • Your arms/arm pits should be away to make your entire stretch long
  • palms and finger tips spread wide open
  • Feet and hips are aligned, distance apart.
  • long spine and keep your core tucked in
  • don’t pull your back down instead keep your core intact.
  • eyes gaze towards your navel.
  • press the heels towards the mat (no tip toe-ing!)

Once you dance your way to chaturanga, feel the flow on the mat. Most of us lift our toes up and adjusts wherein supposedly, or much better, curl and remain on the floor. With the right flow, there won’t be any adjustments needed from your toes to your arms (It takes practice, really! but it feels great to dance to yoga!)

The tone of the legs shouldn’t be forced, the thighs are lifting off the floor, it should never touch the floor from the time we do chaturanga up to the upward position and should activate the thighs. Draw the belly, and gaze towards the nose.

Here’s another trick: Gazing towards the nose will make our face soft.

Looks like I’d have to keep tab and curate different posts for all that I’ve learned during the workshop. Let me go through the bends on my next post.

Hope this helps! Keep learning, practicing and breathe.

3 thoughts on “Laruga in Manila 2016: Your Downward Dog

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