Recently I’ve been dealing with a bit of shoulder pain (specifically my rotator cuff) for a few months now. As a result, downdog has started to bother my shoulder a bit, which has made me get a bit creative with my vinyasa yoga practice since so much of vinyasa is downdog. I thought this could be helpful for you as well, so I wanted to share with you a few alternatives to downdog I’ve been using in my own yoga practice.

Before I share these, I wanted to just go over why someone might choose these alternatives (and this is by no means an exhaustive list!). I think modifications get a bad rap in yoga, and I’m here to say MODIFY MODIFY MODIFY!! I modify almost everything in some shape or form when I practice. If it feels better, why not do it? It doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. It doesn’t mean you’re “cheating.” It means you’re listening to your body and doing something that will feel BETTER, which is really the whole point of doing a yoga practice isn’t it? To feel good and grounded and calm? Soooo these alternatives might help you too if:​

  • You have shoulder pain/rotator cuff issues/tight shoulders in downdog
  • Downdog feels exhausting
  • You’re just tired that day
  • Stepping your foot between your hands is challenging and you just want to move quickly through a class
  • You just don’t feel like doing yet another downdog (anyone else feel this way? lol)
  • Your hamstrings are tight/have any kind of achilles pain or discomfort
  • You have wrist pain/discomfort
  • You have elbow pain/discomfort

Let me know if you can think of other reasons – I’d love to hear them!

So, if any of those reasons resonate with you, here are a few alternatives you can try in your next vinyasa class.

Downdog Alternative #1:

Downdog Alternative #2:

Downdog Alternative #3:

Downdog Alternative #4:

I think my favorite is currently #4. Give these a try and then let me know which one is your favorite!

Till next time,

Kate

P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post and want more yoga tips to help you build a stronger, more flexible and dependable body, join my mailing list where I send out weekly tips like this. You can sign up here. Please also feel free to share this with anyone who you think might benefit from these tips!

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