Downward Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward Dog is the most common pose recognized in yoga classes and is known for it's many therapeutic benefits. It is mostly seen and is the main component of the yoga sun salutation series. This pose resembles a dog stretching itself out.
Benefits of Downward Dog
Downward dog creates great sensations within the body. From your toes up to your hips, and down to your finger tips. As you go deeper within the pose, you neutralize the spine, then bring it back to its natural alignment. It is an excellent pose for stretching and strengthening the body, as well as having rejuvenating and invigorating benefits for the body, mind and spirit.
This pose is excellent for athletes by strengthening the hands, wrists, back, hamstrings and calves, while creating balance throughout the entire body. It's important to have strength and balance in order to be at your best while playing sports.
A lot of people suffer from back pain and have bad posture. This can happen when we sit all day on our computers slouching our back. Downward dog decreases back pain and improves posture by strengthening the entire back and elongating the shoulder blades.
Headaches is a common complaint. Many people reach for an Advil at the first sign of an oncoming headache. Yoga is a natural therapeutic way to prevent aches and pains. Downward dog decreases tension in the head by keeping it relaxed and elongating the spine and neck.
Downward dog is like half an inversion and is great for those who can't do the full Headstand. It helps reverse the effects of gravity by improving full body circulation. Being upside down sends blood and vital nutrients to your brain.
This Pose improves respiration. It's great for people with any breathing problems, like asthma. It cleans out your airways by draining away any mucus that accumulates over time and relieves congestion. Those with a cold and stuffy nose should hang out in downward dog to help relieve symptoms.
Downward dog provides many benefits for your health. It strengthens the immune system and improves digestion. It keeps your mind and body well balanced. By practicing this pose, you will enjoy the calming effects of the mind and spirit. It's no wonder this pose is so commonly used in yoga classes frequently.
Steps for Downward Dog
- Start in an all-fours position, on your hands and knees.
- Feet should be hip width apart, hands shoulder width apart and fingers spread apart.
- Slide the shoulders back and away from your ears.
- Pull your stomach in.
- Gaze between your feet.
- Hold this pose for 5 breaths.
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