|Category:||Yoga Lesson Planner|
|Types:||Arm Balance, Balance, Prone, Seated & Floor, Strengthen|
|Anatomy:||Arms & Shoulders, Biceps & Triceps, Core, Hamstrings, Psoas, Wrists & Arms|
|Chakras:||Base, Solar Plexus Centre|
|Therapy:||Confidence Building, Leg Congestion, Poor Posture, Varicose Veins|
|Drishti:||Tip Of Nose|
Partner A gets into Downward Facing Dog. Partner B does a Side Plank by placing a hand on Partner A’s lower back.
Strengthens arm and shoulders.
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Free Downloadable Doga Yoga Lesson Plan: 30 Variations Of Downward Facing Dog Pose
The Doga lesson plan was created using the Yoga Genie Lesson Planner. It’s just one of the 10,000+ yoga lesson plans within the planner. I hope you like it.
9 Teaching Steps
Step 1: Download The Free Yoga Lesson Plan
Doga Yoga Lesson Plan: 30 Variations Of Downward Facing Dog Pose | Short Version
Doga Yoga Lesson Plan: 30 Variations Of Downward Facing Dog Pose | Stream Version
This Downward Facing Dog themed yoga lesson plan has a whopping 30 variations and modifications for Downward Facing Dog Pose – ordered by level of difficulty.
Step 2: Download The Free Yoga Class Handout
This is 1 of 250+ yoga class handouts included as a bonus within the Yoga Genie Lesson Planner.
With this epic bonus, you’ll be able to download an MS Word Document with 450+ pages of yoga class handouts. It’s taken me years to create this document. They include all the “yoga class handouts” that I’ve created for my own yoga classes over the years. And the best part is that you’ll be able to edit every single one of the handouts.
For example, you might want to put your logo on the handouts or edit the descriptions a bit to add your own style. Your students will love receiving them.
Step 3: Teach Sanskrit
Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Svanasana
Don’t be afraid to teach your students Sanskrit, but make sure you make it fun to learn.
How is that possible you may ask?
Well, I do it by using the same memory tricks as the memory champions. All you need to do is associate the Sanskrit name with a bizarre story. The more bizarre you can make the story, the better it is for the memory.
Here’s how I ask my students to remember Adho Mukha Svanasana is the Sanskrit for Downward Facing Dog…
“Imagine you’re about to head off to work and you start singing “I ho, I ho it’s off to work we go” (triggers your mind to remember adho). Then someone throws muck (triggers your mind to remember mukha) all over your car. There’s so much muck that you can’t see out of your window screen and almost run over a beautiful white swan (triggers your mind to remember svan). You’re so stressed that you get out of the car in the middle of a busy road and perform Adho Mukha Svanasana.
Step 4: Teach Symbolism
Here is some Downward Facing Dog symbolism you can bring up during the class:
- Fetch (what games have you played recently?)
- Letting go of the past (e.g. a loud telling off)
- Licking (or “kissing” for us humans)
- Living in the moment
Step 5: Teach Philosophy
During the class, you could say something like…
When practicing one or more of the 30 Downward Facing Dog variations, ask yourself one of the dog philosophy mantras. The mantra will help you tune into dog power.
Dog Philosophy Mantras
“I call upon dog power for one-pointed focus.”
“I call upon dog power to find more time for fun.”
“I call upon dog power to prioritize fun today.”
“I call upon dog power to become a champion of service and find ways to be of service to my friends, family, and community?”
“I call upon dog power to be aware when a friend or family member is in need so that I can reach out and be of service to them?”
“I call upon dog power to take myself less seriously and wag my tail for no reason in particular…just to celebrate life.
“I call upon dog power to enjoy the moment.”
Step 6: Teach Benefits
Downward Facing Dog is the most popular yoga pose for most yogis.
And with good reason.
Downward Facing Dog creates space within your spine for healing light to pour through. And if that’s not good enough to get chipper about, it also: stretches & opens shoulders, calms the nervous system, stimulates abdominal organs & thyroid gland helps relieve symptoms of menopause, reduces stress & fatigue, therapeutic for backache, headache, infertility, insomnia & sinusitis, tones arms, sculpts thighs, and will set the entire backside of your body free.
Not bad for ONE pose, heh!
If you simply list out the benefits to your class, you’ll bore the socks off your students. That is of course if they had any on. The way to spice up the benefits is to become a poet and use imagery words and phrases. Here are some examples…
The Traditional Way
Downward Facing Dog is good for the spine.
The Imagery Way
Downward Facing Dog creates space within your spine for healing light to pour through.
The Traditional Way
Downward Facing Dog stretches the hamstrings
The Imagery Way
Imagine a hook attached to your sacrum which is on a pulley attached to the ceiling. Well, that’s what’s happening to your body when you practice Downward Facing Dog Pose.
Here are 101 yoga imagery phrases to help your classes become more memorable to your students.
Step 7: Teach Precautions
If you’ve given each of your students a Student Questionnaire (there are two student questionnaires within the Yoga Genie Lesson Planner) and have taken the time to become familiar with each of your student’s health issues, you can give them precautions and modifications as you walk around the class observing.
Most new teachers stay rooted to their mats when they teach a class because it feels safe.
A rule of thumb is that you should be off your mat more than you’re on it.
- High blood pressure
Step 8: Teach Modifications & Variations
Download the lesson plan (top of this page) for the 30 variations and modifications of Downward Facing Dog Pose.
Here are a few variations…
Downward Facing Dog With Bent Knees: One of the great things about yoga is that modifications open the doors to yoga to students of all abilities. When you modify Downward Facing Dog, the physical focus is on lengthening the spine and opening up your upper back. That means you get the same benefits from bending your knees as you would with straight knees. The only difference is that you wouldn’t get such a deep stretch for the hamstrings.
Bend Knees & Block
Bend knees and rest each hand on a yoga block.
Use A Chair
Your class will almost certainly have more than one student with tight hamstrings. Here’s a great modification to give them. Ask students to practice Downward Facing Dog by putting their hands on a chair (instead of the mat). The chair will allow the student to straighten their legs and get a good hamstring stretch while keeping a long, straight spine. However, make your students aware that they don’t limit themselves to only using chairs. For example, they could also use a sofa, table, bed, kitchen sink, and wall. The higher the prop, the more your students will be able to straighten their legs (hamstring stretch) while still maintaining the long, straight spine that is the core of Downward Facing Dog.
Use A Wall
Your class will also have one or two students who have wrist or shoulder injuries. Ask them to practice Downward Facing Dog using a wall as a prop.
Step 9: Teach Downward Facing Dog
Here are some quick teaching tips for Downward Facing Dog Pose…
Tip 1 | Knees Bent
Downward Facing Dog With Bent Knees: New students with stiff backs and legs don’t need to try and force their legs to be straight. The huge effort it takes to straighten the legs pushes way too much weight forward onto their hands which has the knock-on effect of dropping their hips too low. So, when observing students who are struggling to straighten their legs, tell them it’s okay to BEND their legs. This ‘bending’ will help the spine to extend down from the hips and place 80% of the weight on the feet instead of the vulnerable hands…and now the classic Downward Facing Dog form will appear.
Tip 2 | Weight on Feet
Ask your students to be aware of where most of their weight is being placed. Most beginner students will pile 80% of their weight onto their hands. This is a big NO, NO. The hands have wee little bones in them which means putting too much weight on them can cause injury. Instead, 80% of the weight needs to be focused on the feet.
Tip 3 | Use hands to push the weight back onto feet
The name of the Downward Facing Dog game is to get as much weight off your hands as possible and as much weight into your feet as possible. That’s done by using your hands to push the weight onto the feet.
Tip 4 | Vary the stance
Ask your students to vary the width and length of the stance (e.g. Downward Facing Dog with a wide stance).
Tip 5 | Puppy Pose
Ask your students to perform puppy pose (Downward Facing Dog on knees) and then Downward Facing Dog. Ask them to be aware of the stretch going on in their backs during both poses. If the Puppy pose stretch feels similar to Downward Facing Dog, they are getting the benefits of the pose.
Partner Yoga FAQs
Partner yoga brings people together through movement, play, breath, and touch.
Below are some questions that you might get from students when teaching partner yoga poses…
Does partner yoga cultivate emotional support in friendships?
Yes. Both partners need to rely on each other, which is ideal for cultivating emotional support. Partner poses require balance and focus. They also enhance communication and openness which also cultivates emotional support.
Does partner yoga teach the art of giving and receiving?
Yes. Partner yoga doesn’t just build muscle. It’s also character building.
It’s impossible to do a partner yoga pose and not be learning the fine art of “giving and receiving”. Partners get the opportunity to take the weight of the partner and then give their weight (giving and receiving) to increase the physical benefits of the pose. So, with no words spoken, one of the most important life skills is being cultivated in a partner pose.
Does partner yoga give yourself permission to let go and have fun?
Yes. Partner yoga is just like laughter yoga. Students absolutely love it.
Some shy students might be a bit hesitant, to begin with, but even they quickly enjoy it. Why? Because it’s fun. It’s silly. You fall over. You’re free to make mistakes (fall over and start again). It’s imperative for a healthy life to allow the fun in, by letting go of mistakes. Partner Yoga teaches students to give new things a go, without expecting or needing to be good at them.
What can the power of touch teach?
In partner yoga, you are touched by another human. Touch helps to increase our compassion for others because subconsciously we realize that we are all the same. This “we are the same” message is similar to The Merchant of Venice scene when Shylock says: “Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?”
How important is balance as a life skill?
There will be times in life when chaos will reign and you’ll feel out of balance.
That’s when all the time spent practicing balance poses (e.g. partner yoga poses) comes to your aid. Being physically balanced has the effect of turning the stress, anxiety, and overwhelm into a state of focused calm. The emotional balance of giving and receiving in a partner pose also helps turn stress, anxiety, and overwhelm into a state of focused calm.
Do partner poses deepen the stretch for muscles and ligaments?
Yes. Partner yoga poses help to deepen the stretch for tight muscles and ligaments, without any pain. One partner’s body weight is used to increase the pressure of the other partner’s stretch.
Can partner yoga help take my practice to the next level?
Yes. When you have a partner, you’re able to take stretches and core strength workouts up a notch. For example, in Boat Pose With Partner, you both get to deepen the stretch in the backs of your legs and improve your balance.
If you like this partner pose, you’re gonna love our Yoga Lesson Planner.