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Most classes or yoga DVDs that focus on yoga for beginners will include downward-facing dog pose and staff pose. Downward-facing dog (adho mukha svanasana) is a restorative pose that is done often throughout many yoga sequences of standing poses. Staff pose (dandasana) is the foundation for all seated poses, so it's important to establish correct alignment. These moves aren't just beginner yoga poses—they are the foundations for many advanced postures.
Some tips to make your downward-facing dog a good dog:
-Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and spread your fingers while pressing the palms into the floor.
-Tuck your tailbone. Don't arch the lower back in this pose in an attempt to stretch the hamstrings.
-Walk your dog. Slowly alternate bending and straightening each knee to stretch your calves and hamstrings.
-Keep the outside edges of your feet parallel to each other and keep your feet about hip width apart.
-Slowly raise your toes off the floor and lower them; this motion helps to release the hamstrings and bring your heels closer to the floor.
Give your staff pose a firm foundation:
-Sit up straight with your feet straight out in front of you.
-Press out through your heels and keep your feet flexed and your toes pointing towards the ceiling.
-Use your hands to move the flesh of the buttocks away from your sitting bones to make sure that you are sitting as flat and level as possible.
-Place your palms on the floor beside your hips and try to press down into your palms while straightening your arms and rolling your shoulder blades back.