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Downward Facing Dog 101

Downward facing dog (commonly known as ‘down dog’) is a yoga pose traditionally used as part of a warm up sequence and/or sun salutations. Downward facing dog has many roles and responsibilities: It serves as an assessment pose, transitional pose, resting pose, strengthening pose and inversion pose.

Name: Downwards Facing Dog

Sanskrit Name: Adho-mukha Svanasana

Strengthens: Legs and Arms

Stretches: Hand, Hamstring, Shoulder, Calf, Arches of the foot

Fellow yoga lovers at Yoga Digest go into detail about some of the reasons down dog is so good for us. It has to do with meridians, acupuncture points. Downward facing dog stimulates the bladder meridian, or bladder channel, the longest channel in the body. It has 67 acupuncture points that run from the inner eye, up and over the head, down the entire spine and posterior leg, along the side of the foot and ending at the pinkie toe! Acupuncturists believe that a couple of these points are responsible for some very important organ function and therefore activating and increasing energy flow throughout them can alleviate just about any chronic disease.

Simply come onto all fours, in the hands and knees position. Curl the toes under to come onto the balls of the feet. Press the hands down as you lift your hips upward, straightening the legs and pressing the heels back into the mat like an upside down V-shape. Don’t be disheartened if your heels don’t touch the ground, I’ve been doing yoga for a couple of years, and still struggle!

Boosts energy
Eliminates back pain
Improves circulation
Strengthens the immune system
Builds upper body strength
Increases flexibility in the hamstring

Some teachers will tell you to pedal the feet, or ‘walk the dog.’ Try this pose today. Practice with deep inhales and full exhales through the nose for maximum results!

Recommended source: Yoga Digest

Tip: to make the pose more restorative place a support bolster or pillow under forehead, as shown above.

Tip: Got tight hamstrings? You can also bend the knees here, to help keep the back straight. Peddling the feet is great in this position.

© All rights reserved | NamasJay 2015 – 2019​