Downward Facing Dog Pose
Table of Contents
Among the yoga postures for beginners, one of the most outstanding is the one known by the name of Downward Facing Dog or, in Sanskrit, Adho Mukha Svanasana. It is one of the simplest exercises that are performed during a yoga session and that helps us stretch the muscles of the legs, back, and arms, as well as providing us with a wide sensation of well-being. It also increases the flexibility of the knees, spine, and hips, which is why it is an essential posture within an exercise routine.
Downward Facing Dog Pose Benefits
The Downward Facing Dog in yoga is a perfect posture to get started in the world of yoga. This amazing pose will help you relieve tension, relax your body and improve the elasticity of your muscles. Here is a list of all the benefits you will get with this pose:
- Cools the brain, calms, and relieves stress and mild depression.
- Stretches and relaxes the shoulders, hands, tendons, calves, and insteps.
- It reduces headaches: we have already indicated above that this position improves blood circulation and, makes oxygen reach the brain better, something that reduces headaches and/or migraines.
- Relieves insomnia.
- It treats back pain: it reduces the pain you may suffer in the back since you get to stretch the muscles in the area as much as possible and relax tensions.
- It oxygenates our body: by having the body in an inverted shape, blood circulation is improved, therefore, that the oxygen that is transported through the red blood cells reaches more areas of the body.
- It is therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, sinusitis, flat feet, and sciatica.
- It energizes the body.
- It reduces tensions: this position is also perfect to reduce the tension accumulated in the body by fully stretching the muscles and joints and enjoying a comfortable position with which you will feel much better.
- It strengthens the bones: therefore, it is a position that is ideal to avoid diseases related to bone health, such as osteoporosis.
- Gets you stronger muscles: another of the benefits of the Downward Facing Dog pose in yoga is that it manages to tone the muscles of the body, especially those found in the arms and legs.
- Improves digestion.
- Relieves symptoms of menopause and menstrual cramps.
- It helps prevent osteoporosis.
Downward Facing Dog Step by Step
Step 1: Get on the mat, on your knees
- Get on the ground, on your hands and knees on a non-slip surface, or on your yoga carpet.
- Bring your knees directly below your hips and your hands just past your shoulders, flat on the floor, so that your toes form a good base, ensuring firmness and stability.
- Spread your fingers and align your wrists parallel to the front edge of the mat. This will give you good support for your arms.
Step 2:Move your body into the proper position
- Bending your toes and leaning on them, exhale and lift your knees off the floor, supporting all of your weight on your hands and the front of your feet, as your heels will be slightly raised. Raise your hips, making your tailbone and buttocks rise towards the ceiling or sky.
- Support your toes, raise your hips as far as possible towards the ceiling, stretch your legs and rest your heels on the floor. In this way, we are also stretching the arms and the back.
Step 3: Stretch your body
- Exhaling, press the upper part of your thighs back, stretching your legs well, bringing your heels to the ground, taking care to do so carefully so as not to injure your Achilles’ tendons.
- Curl your toes under and lift your hips up and back, straightening your legs and bringing yourself into an upside-down, V-shaped position.
- There should be a 90-degree angle between your legs and your torso, and your arms should extend to the ground at the same angle as your spine.
Step 4: Keep the body aligned
- Securing your hands against the floor, stretch your arms from your wrists to your shoulders. Then push your shoulders toward your knees so that your upper back and arms form a straight line.
- Keep your head aligned between your arms so you’re looking at your thighs, don’t let it hang down or try to raise it up.
Step 5: Keep the pose
- It is recommended to hold the posture between 1 and 3 minutes, breathing deeply and gently.
- Try to get deeper on your pose, press your chest to your thighs, try to lower your heels to the mat.
During the Downward Facing Dog in yoga, we keep our breathing controlled, with a minimum of 5 calm and deep breaths.
Downward Facing Dog Pose Contraindications
The Downward Facing Dog pose provides several benefits for our health and our body. However, it is important that some people have to avoid doing this asana or, at least, seek advice from a specialist before practicing it.
Main contraindications of this yoga pose:
- If you have high blood pressure, it is not recommended that you perform the Downward Facing Dog pose because the position could increase blood pressure.
- If your shoulders dislocate easily or you have an injury in this area of the body, it is recommended that you do not do this pose as it could harm you.
- If you are pregnant, from the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy, it is not recommended that this pose because it can produce strong pressure on the abdomen.
- People who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome should also not perform this pose because it could increase their ailment.
- Take one step at a time in this pose, if you move into this pose too fast you might lose your balance.
- Do not do this pose with a full stomach.
- It’s easier to align your hands properly if you visualize a straight line passing from the crease at the base of one wrist to the crease of the other.
- If your hamstrings are less flexible, you may need to bend your knees to lift your hips up and back.
- If your shoulders are less flexible, you may not be able to extend the arms fully. Only go as far as what your body will allow.
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