How and Why of Downward Dog!
The downward facing dog is practiced in most of the yoga classes. It’s part of the sun salutation flow and a foundational yoga pose. It’s an inverted pose. This pose is equal parts strength and stretch. This pose tone the arms and legs, opens the shoulders, and elongates hamstrings and calves. Power of this pose comes from her pelvis, hips, and torso. This pose can promote alertness and relaxation at the same time.
Let’s dig into the benefits, how to practice it, and modifications of this pose.
Benefits of Downward Dog-
- This pose stretches your lower body. It helps to stretch the hamstrings, calves, and ankles fully.
- Downward dog is a weight-bearing inversion. So, it helps to strengthen your shoulders and upper body.
- This pose promotes blood circulation throughout your body.
- Downward dog can improve posture by opening the chest muscles and lengthening your spine.
- It stretches the small muscles in your feet and can relieve the plantar fascia pain.
How to Get into Downward Dog Pose-
- Get into a quadruped position with hands stacked under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Lift your knees. Tuck your toes under your heels and lift your knees. Extend your legs to lift both knees in the air.
- Lengthen your spine, pressing through the palms of your hands and balls of your feet.
- Pike and push your pelvis up toward the ceiling.
- Hold the pose for as long as you are comfortable breathing deep.
- Bend your knees if your hamstrings and calves are tight.
- If your heels are more than a couple of inches from the mat and you can’t hold the downward dog due to tight lower leg muscles, place a rolled-up towel under your heels to get into this pose.
- If your wrists bother you, hold onto blocks or drop your elbows under your shoulders and balance on your forearms.
Downward dog is a peaceful, refreshing, and blissful pose. Try adding a downward dog to your yoga practices to reap all these amazing benefits.
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About the Author
Aesha Tahir is a health and wellness coach and a certified personal trainer. She holds a Master’s degree in Applied Exercise Science and is certified by the NASM as a Personal trainer. She is a certified USA Track and Field Running Coach and Road Runners of America Coach. She is a 200-HR Registered Yoga Teacher. She is also a group exercise instructor specializing in barre, spinning, strength training, boot camp, and yoga classes. She has over five years of experience in the fitness and wellness arena with focused expertise in coaching, corrective exercise and injury prevention, individualized fitness programs, and group fitness programs. She is also an aspiring public speaker in the fitness and wellness world who believes in this quote; “To be inspired is great, but to inspire is incredible.”