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FREE Class! Pose With a Purpose: Downdog Breakdown

I decided to try something new this month with the first of a series called Pose With a Purpose. I’ll break down poses and tell you not only how to DO the pose, but what the anatomy of the pose looks and feels like.

Instead of doing poses mindlessly and out of habit, we’ll revisit them and look at them through a different lens. If you’ve ever asked, “Where should I be feeling this?” or “What am I actually working here?” or “Why do I feel pain in this spot?”

Lots of people asked for more anatomy and I thought this might be a fun way to do it πŸ™‚

Over to you!Β This series will clear up a LOT of those types of questions , so I’d love to know: do you like this video? Do you want to see more like it? Should I continue this series?Β 

[Free ebook] Stop worrying whether you’re doing a pose right, or if you are doing something that will eventually require a few trips to the emergency room. πŸš‘

Download our free yoga form guide β€” over 50 yoga poses broken down with pictures.


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    Rebecca Prestwood

    November 14, 2016 at 6:29 am

    Breaking down poses are valuable information, something I don’t get in class.

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    November 14, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Thank you!

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    November 14, 2016 at 7:10 am

    I LOVED THIS!!!! I really struggle with Down Dog and seeing these poses broken down is invaluable!

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    November 14, 2016 at 7:15 am

    I love this! I’m always wondering if i al doing poses the right way! This helps a lot!

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    November 14, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Yes, absolutely continue this series! So many people don’t know how to do poses correctly. This breakdown totally helps.

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    Amy Martin

    November 14, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Please bring more. I thought there wasn’t anything left to learn about downward dog but I was wrong. Can you do the warrior poses next!?

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      Erin Motz

      November 14, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      perfect! i think the poses we see the most will be most helpful. warrior is a natural next one– great minds think alike πŸ˜‰ <3

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    November 14, 2016 at 7:32 am

    Love this so much! Can’t wait to apply this to the PBYP classes ?
    I would love to see pigeon broken down like this too!
    Thanks you!!! ❀️

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      Erin Motz

      November 14, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      pigeon, of course! great idea πŸ™‚

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    November 14, 2016 at 7:34 am

    Yes!!! I love breaking down a pose. Great teaching tools here.
    Thank you.

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    November 14, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Please continue this series! I love it! My kids were getting ready for school as I watched it so I didn’t get to follow along with you this time, but I plan to watch again and do it along with you once they leave. I have been dropping into down dog and putting all my weight on my shoulders, arms and wrists, making those areas so tired way too early in my practice. I was wondering why down dog has been so hard for me lately & clearly it’s because I haven’t been paying attention. I’m so excited to see this video today!! πŸ™‚

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      Erin Motz

      November 14, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      awesome! so glad this made you think about it differently. love those little “awakening” moments in our yoga practice πŸ™‚

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    November 14, 2016 at 7:37 am

    I loved this. It was so helpful. Please please do more of these classes

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    Joe Orf

    November 14, 2016 at 7:53 am

    Loved it! You did an amazing job with your descriptions. Please do more of these. Half moon and dancer pose please πŸ™‚

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    November 14, 2016 at 8:37 am

    It’s great! I really can not thank you enough for all the meaning you bring into my life. I am a daily practitioner and a yoga teacher and both have benefited so much because of your input! I am waiting for you to launch your first teacher training or yoga retreat. Can you already put me on top of your list? πŸ™‚ xxx

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      November 15, 2016 at 4:33 am

      Yes, yes yes! Second that!

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      November 16, 2016 at 9:39 am

      And me, would love a yoga retreat !

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    November 14, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Great description! Thanks for breaking it down. My vote is for a break down of Pigeon pose. I never can tell where my foot of the bent leg is meant to go and I’m never sure if I’m doing it right.

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    November 14, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Loved it!! Thank you so much for this today!! More, please πŸ™‚

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    November 14, 2016 at 9:06 am

    This was awesome! Loved it!! As a beginner with only video classes under my belt I don’t have a lot of foundational knowledge so this was perfect. More likely like this please. =)

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    Heidi Browne

    November 14, 2016 at 9:21 am

    Love pose breakdowns, & this one was great! I’m a total anatomy geek, so details are my spirit animal, LOL…
    Thank you & Namaste _/|\_ <3

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    November 14, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Awsome alignment mini-class. Loved it! Keep them coming.

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    Chris Baldwin

    November 14, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Would love to see others! Thanks so much!

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    November 14, 2016 at 10:44 am

    This was amazing!! One addition that I’d love to see is a quick (2-5 min) flow at the end working on using the pose in action.

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      Erin Motz

      November 14, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      you got it!

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    November 14, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Thank you! My hamstrings thank you too! I usually feel down dog in my calves but today my hammie’s were engaged. Your teaching style is so powerful thanks for sharing it with others!

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    November 14, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Thank you so much Erin! I loved this video, especially because I usually practice at home by myself, and is good to have a reminder of where the focus should be in every pose. Pleeease keep doing videos like this one.
    Love love love

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    November 14, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Love this!!!!! More please!!!! I have a home practice and need this kind of instruction and reinforcement to even the most basic moves. Even though we “think” we know a pose, as you say, it’s easy to drift out of proper alignment. Please keep this up! And I second the motion to put a very short flow in at the end which helps with transition into and out of the pose, once we’ve (re)mastered the pose itself. Thanks Erin!!

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    Laura Elizabeth

    November 14, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Thank you! This was super-helpful. One or two sun salutations at the end, thus, putting this new skill set into practice, would be the icing on the cake.

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    Becky Lawson

    November 14, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Wonderful! Thanks so much! Downdog kills my shoulders, and maybe now I know why!

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    November 14, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    This was exactly what I was looking for! The only thing I still have a question about is the elbows. Which direction should the elbows be facing? I remember one teacher telling us about this years ago- but I’ve forgotten what he said! Thanks so much! <3

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      Erin Motz

      November 14, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      always assume that every body will look slightly different, but generally speaking, the elbow creases should face the head of your mat πŸ™‚

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    Stacey C

    November 14, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Yes! More, more, more please! I have always kind of wondered if I was getting down dog right and what do you know? After this class, it feels very different and my lower back in particular feels so much better! I would love to see one of these with child’s pose. My feet never feel quite right in it.
    Thank you for a great class!

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      Erin Motz

      November 14, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      thank YOU! child’s pose– great idea!

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    Gilly Trainor

    November 14, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    This is so helpful Erin, thank you. It’s easy to get into bad habits and get a bit sloppy with poses so this was just I needed and it’s helped get the upper body into better alignment and it doesn’t feel as if all the weight is being dumped in my shoulders.
    Please do continue with this for other poses. Trikonasana would be helpful as I’m never sure what angle I’m supposed to hold my head.

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      Erin Motz

      November 14, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      another great idea! traditionally, it’s looking up towards the top hand, but straight ahead or down with your chin in a neutral direction is often more comfortable. i say go with the option that strains your neck the least.

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    JoAnn Lakes

    November 14, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    This is always helpful. I find that many yoga classes don’t really give the alignment cues that are needed to properly execute the asana. It’s understandable when you’re moving from one posture to the next on the breath. There just isn’t enough time to cue everything. A class on form is needed for newbies and old pros alike. If yogis want to be doing yoga into their later years, they need to learn the proper alignment of the postures to avoid both pain and injuries.

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    November 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    This is great! Thank you. Please do more.

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    November 14, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    OMG What a wonderful class! I’m a nurse so I love learning the exact anatomy of each pose and how each pose should feel (not look) so I make sure I don’t injure myself! PLEASE continue this series, I really really (really) enjoyed it and would love to learn more about all of my other favorite poses!
    You’re the best!

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    Beth Henningsen

    November 14, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    More of this, please!

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    Tina Walker

    November 14, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Wow, thank you from a total beginner,this was just what I needed, the how and why, please, please do more.

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      Erin Motz

      November 14, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      awesome to hear!! will def be doing more! <3

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    Nicole Ascher

    November 14, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Oh, I love this idea. I loved doing it body part by body part. Warrior I next please!!! Thank you.

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    November 14, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Thank You! I loved this and I can’t wait for more! Would you say that in down dog your upper body is a lot like in childs pose? Long straight spine and activated shoulders?

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    November 14, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Loved this!! Really helped me focus on how each part of my body is being used in the pose. Definitely need more of these please….pigeon….warrior….tree…..boat….❀️

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    November 14, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    This video made each step easy to follow and come into the right position. I agree with the other comments that having a quick flow at the end to implement the improved pose would help keep it straight in my mind.
    Something that I often struggle with are transitions from one pose to another (this is probably a source for some of the bad alignment in my poses). Could you do some videos to break down some of the flows (like plank/down dog to Chaturanga to up dog)? I tend to do that one really fast/sloppily to avoid face planting…

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      Erin Motz

      November 15, 2016 at 2:11 am

      spot on with the transitions suggestion. absolutely LOVE the idea to do a chatt–updog video because i agree that it can be super awkward! thank you! πŸ™‚

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    November 14, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Very insightful, perfect practice makes right, whether its hip’s width apart, or being in the right mindset when starting vs being complacent, please do more of these, quite helpful, and awesome..

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    November 14, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Alignment is SO important (not just for the benefits is brings but for the injuries it avoids). THANK YOU! Great step-by-step breakdown, clear, concise, and invaluable to me. Keep them coming!

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    November 15, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Thank you for this breakdown, so helpful in knowing how I was doing it wrong! Please continue this series!!

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    Ashley Creveling

    November 15, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Loved it! The belly button tuck totally changed my downward dog! Hope these classes keep ommm coming πŸ™‚ hahaha β™‘

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    November 16, 2016 at 7:30 am

    A bit late, but I loved this!!! I really want to learn more about poses and this is the best way, thank you! I’d love to see also puppy pose broke down, if possible!

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    November 16, 2016 at 9:22 am

    I loved this in more detail. I have have done the 30 Day twice, purchased several courses including PBYP, and via those I picked up on the rotation of the hips, flatter back, and loose head/neck. The other tips here helped overall, but I still wonder if I have my arms out far enough. I watch how you can transition from Down Dog into a Plank and I feel like I have to shift my hand or feet so my hands/arms will not be forward of shoulders. Additionally, transition from Cobra back to Down Dog – you are able to tuck your toes and move right into Down Dog without shifting hands or feet. It could be my 50+ year old body isn’t capable πŸ™‚ but I have made progress at getting feet flatter – but wonder which should have most focus?ο»Ώ

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    November 16, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Loved this and would love to see this with other poses as well! I have to say, I just recently learned how to tilt the pelvis in down dog and it really does take so much pressure out of the wrists – mine always used to bother me in down dog and have not since I learned how important that is! Can’t wait to see what pose is next πŸ™‚

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    November 17, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Thank you for breaking the pose down. It is hard to access the correct alignment many times in a flow situation because the “routine” just goes too fast to get everything into place before moving onto the next pose, so this was nice – and made a huge difference on my shoulder that has bursitis and arthritis – there was no pain πŸ™‚

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    Brenda Bushey

    November 17, 2016 at 10:11 am

    I love this class option. I need refinement with techniques. I need help with pigeon and balance poses.

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    Barbs Herbst

    November 17, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Oh my gosh. I loved this one. This is such valuable information especially for newbies like me who can’t afford to actually go to a class in person. Thank you so much! Also, can I just say that I have been relatively interested in yoga for a time, but you are the only person that has made it seem really accessible to me. You have made it really fun and enjoyable and made it seem like something that is for me. Thank you so much for doing what you do. πŸ™‚

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    November 17, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    I loved this video. Simple clear instructions that totally make sense. Would love to have a view of different angle of the pose.

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    November 17, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Loved this, Erin! I hope you’ll continue with it, because understanding the breakdown of a pose is invaluable! Thank you!

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    November 17, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Love this, so very helpful! I have always wondered if I was doing the poses correctly and safely. breaking down the poses will help more than I can say. Keep the series! Can’t wait for more!

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    November 18, 2016 at 1:53 am

    YES! Loved loved this! Finally doing it correctly helps down dog feel like a “resting pose”… or that it might be eventually πŸ˜‰ . I think accompanying chatarunga and cobra/up dog videos would be great. It’s a sequence we do so often it would be nice to refocus it if that makes sense (?). Anyway, yes! More! Great new series!! πŸ™‚ <3

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    November 18, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Erin, you rock! This class was fabulous! Yes please…more!

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    November 18, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Love this! Please continue this series.

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    November 19, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Great!! Been doing down-dog for years, but this really helped me refine it and hold the pose longer.

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    Ashley Armour Grunewald

    November 29, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Please continue this series! I enjoyed the break down of each part of the body that we should focus on and that you not only talked about it but showed it to us. Thank you and keep being awesome!

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    Emily Elizabeth Arthur

    November 30, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    LOVED this! Please continue the “Poses with a Purpose” how-to series!

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    Maureen McCormack

    December 2, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    I really loved this! Could you go a little slower next time? I wanted to try everything as you were saying it, but by the time I refined it in my own down dog, you were on to something else and I got behind! But please keep doing pose with a purpose! It’s so helpful πŸ™‚

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    December 28, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Wow. This helped so much.

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    December 31, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    This class was very helpful. I loved breaking down foundational poses and having specific things to work on. Thank you!

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    January 17, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    wow! I can seriously tell a difference in my down dog! love breaking down different yoga poses for sure! Erin, you are awesome!

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    Amanda Hertlein-Martin

    January 29, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    I finally did this class (it’s been waiting for me!) it it was pretty amazing. My wrists usually are dying in down dog and after I made the adjustments it felt totally different with no pain anywhere. It was amazing. And I have been doing yoga for quite a while. I guess I just wanted to say yay you and thank you so much for this because it will really change the way that I do down dog forever. It has been really eye opening and I really appreciated it. πŸ™‚

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    Rebecca Colgate

    February 5, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    This was fantastic. Really breaking down the poses is so helpful and will add so much to my daily practice. Thank you so much for doing these instructional videos!

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    January 14, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    This was perfect. I always enjoy learning….it is so important! Please post more like this πŸ™‚

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    joe toscano

    March 16, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    a thoughtful comment YOGA BURN
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    November 21, 2019 at 7:18 am

    It’s never too late to try. Thank you for sharing this. This is really helpful

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