Half-Dog Pose is great for releasing the shoulders, back and hamstrings, and for lengthening the spine.

How to practice Half-Dog Pose:

  • Place a chair against a wall with its back facing you.
  • Stand in Mountain Pose and then bending from the hips, place your hands on the back of the chair shoulder-width apart. Raise your wrists so that they are higher than your knuckles.
  • Slowly, walk away from the chair until your feet are directly below the hips.
  • Lower your head and squeeze it between your arms so that your head, neck and spine are in line.
  • Your back should now resemble a table-top with the the trunk forming a right angle with the legs.However, there should be a slight indentation in the lower spine of about 1-2 inches.
  • Dig the heels into the floor. Soften the backs of the knees and inhaling, lift the area around the collar bones. Exhaling, take the chest back and push through the hips so that you lengthen the spine. The idea is tilt the sitting bones upwards so that they are in line with the ceiling.
  • Practice for 6 breaths. Inhale, and slowly come back up to Mountain Pose. (x3)

Need Help? ~ If your back is dome-shaped, it means the pelvis is rotated too far backward. Bend your knees slightly and keep working on rotating the sitting bones upwards.

~ If your spine sags in the lumber (lower back), the pelvis is rotated too far forwards. Keep pushing back through the hips while moving the navel area up towards the lower ribs.

~ If your legs are stiff or if they are not strong enough to practice the pose, you can do the position using 2 chairs. Sit on the edge of one chair which should face the back of the other chair. Make sure the second chair is far enough away so that you have to stretch out your arms fully to reach it. Place your hands on the back of the other chair in front of you with the wrists raised higher than the knuckles. Bring your head down in between your arms and practice the pose as above. In this way you will still get a nice stretch in your spine.

STOP! Proceed very carefully, if you encounter any of the above difficulties. You don’t want to put any pressure on the inter-vertebral discs.If in doubt, ask a yoga teacher to advise you.