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Ask Yoga Today

Ask Yoga Today – Bringing Your Leg from Downward Dog to Warrior

Posted: July 24th, 2012 by Neesha Zollinger 5 Comments

Dear Neesha,

I have been practicing for several months and still CANNOT bring either foot straight through from downward dog.  Is there something specific I can do to make this happen?

Thank you, Margaret

Hi Margaret,

It is certainly fun to bring your foot straight forward from Downward dog to a lunge or warrior, but definitely not a pre-requisite for a good yogi.  I appreciate your will power and fire to enjoy a speedier transition.

My first piece of advice is:  enjoy the process.  There is everything to gain and nothing to gain from bringing your foot straight forward.  Also, there are things you can do to make the transition smoother.  Try these tips:

1.  From Downward Dog, lift one leg up and bring it forward, knee toward nose.  Hover in this 1-legged plank position for as long as you can then switch sides.  Repeat 4 more times on each side.  Focus on getting your knee as far forward as you can and expanding the back of your waistline up to the sky as if in cat pose.  Strongly draw your belly button up and squeeze your arms and legs to the middle.  Enjoy breathing too!

2.  Do lots of lunging sequences to open your legs and hips.  Here is a FREE video that includes some transitional phases of coming into lunges and other good pointers such as keeping your back leg strong and lifted.

3.  When bringing one leg forward, keep your back leg and your waist line lifted.

4.  Experiment with doing the motion on an inhale or an exhale.  Though some schools offer specific instruction, an inhale might help you keep the loft of your waist and back leg.  An exhale will give you more power in your core and even momentum if that helps.

5.  If it does not get there in one motion (which is pretty normal especially after only several months of practice), just use your hand to get it there the rest of the way.

Have fun with your practice, enjoying the details, methodology, insights and roadblocks—they are all temporary.  I hope that the process gives you that satisfactory feeling of progress as well.

If you have any questions, be sure to post them here, I will be eager to hear of how this engagement transforms what you have been doing.