The Downward Dog, called Adho Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit. It is one of the most popular yoga poses used by Yogis around the world. If you have ever taken a Yoga class, you have experienced the deep full body stretch of the Downward Dog.
This rejuvenating yoga pose works to strengthen the core and improve circulation throughout the body. It is a pose that offers a full-body stretch from your fingertips to your toes. You can use this pose anytime you need a good stretch, before meditation, or walking.
Downward Dog Technique
Want to master this Yoga pose? Follow these quick tips to properly get into the pose.
- First, you need to bend down onto your hands and feet into a V-like position.
- Your back should be flat, and your hips should be in the air.
- You can bend your knees if you have tighter hamstrings, or if your back is rounded, but the goal should eventually be to get your legs straight and your heels on the ground.
- You should externally rotate the upper arms to allow for more space around the head and neck.
- Your core (stomach area) should be engaged.
- Your hands should be spread out and your middle fingers should be facing forward.
- Hold the pose for up to 5 minutes to build your core strength.
This pose has many benefits for the entire body. If you want to loosen your hamstrings and keep your body agile, try to use this pose at least once a day for five minutes.
5 Benefits of the Downward Dog
❶ It strengthens the whole body
The Downward Dog activates most of the muscles in our bodies. This pose strengthens the whole body and strengthens your core. Downward Dog can even be good for those suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome because the arm and wrist positions help to strengthen the hands and wrists. By engaging your core, you can also get a powerful ab workout simply by holding this pose.
❷ It stretches the entire backside of the body
The wonderful part of the Downward Dog is that it stretches the entire backside of your body. Our bodies are so much more interconnected than we initially believe. If you have low back pain, it could be due to tight hips and hamstrings because of how everything from the neck to the feet is intertwined.
You will likely feel downward facing dog the most in your hamstrings, but that does not mean it is working the entire backside.
Lifting one heel and lowering the other to feel more of a stretch one leg at a time is what is referred to as “walking your dog” and beginning yogis are encouraged to walk their dog every day.
❸ It resets the spine
Suffering from back issues? Downward facing dog stretches and realigns the spine, pulling it apart from the head and toes. If you struggle with back issues, this pose may be your saving grace.
Not only is the stretch great for back pain, as mentioned above, but if you particularly spend your days hunched over a desk. This will help your spine correct itself from being in that position most of the day, preventing injuries that come with sitting with bad posture.
❹ Stimulates blood flow to the brain
There are many yoga poses referred to as inversions, which basically means that your head is below your heart. Downward Dog is a great inversion for beginners. When your head does sit below your heart, it brings blood flow to your brain, which can increase energy levels and improve focus.
Allowing your head to hang below your heart can release any tension that builds up in the neck as well. Because of how lengthening and tension relieving this pose is, it is no wonder it aids in blood flow and especially blood flow to the brain.
❺ It eases stress and calms the mind
This is true for any yoga practice in general, but the Downward Dog is specifically a great and quick pose to calm your mind. The Downward Dog is known as an active resting pose, meaning, even though your muscles are engaged, and this is a strengthening pose, it is meant to allow you a moment to rest, breathe deep, and calm down during a yoga class.
By Implementing a quick downward dog into your morning routine, you are setting yourself up for a better more relaxed day ahead. You will increase your flexibility and build core strength like never before, try it once a day for 5 minutes and see how it works for you!