Downward Facing Dog is one of the most iconic yoga poses there is…
Also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana, the name translates from the Sanskrit adhas, meaning “down,” mukha, meaning “face,” and svana, meaning “dog,”. This asana is revered as the poster child of yoga and is seen in almost every single yoga discipline out there. Sure, at first glance Downward Facing Dog does not look like anything special. Yet, once you have practiced it long enough, you will realise that there is a certain amount strength, flexibility and skill required to do it correctly.
So as if you needed any other reason to do yoga every single day, here are some reasons why Adho Mukha Svanasana should be your daily go-to pose:
Work the Muscles of the Upper Body
There is new issue people have to deal with on a daily basis: computer hunch! When sitting with incorrect posture for a period of time, tension and tightness forms in the chest and upper back. But, by striking Downward Dog those muscles get a fabulous release. Plus, the stabilization engages and strengthens the muscles of the chest, back, arms, and shoulders.
Tone the Hands and Feet
Downward Dog is a weight-bearing pose, so it actively works the hands and feet. For people who have weak grip strength, this yoga pose can really help to work the fingers and toes. You can also think of Downward Dog as a precursor to other more advanced arm balances, because you need to learn how to ground through the hands and feet properly.
Open the Hamstrings
Most of the things we do throughout the day actually add tension to our bodies, especially in the legs. Most people are suffering from chronic tightness in the hamstrings and hips but don’t realise it! Adho Mukha Svanasana is a wonderful pose for reaching deep into the backs of the legs and thoroughly opening up the hamstrings and calves.
Elongate the Spine
In order to do Downward Dog properly, you need to elongate the spine. By doing so, gravity works with you to reverse the typical downward pressure on the spine. Every time you shift your tailbone upwards, you are allowing the vertebrae to decompress and realign.
Release Tension and Stress
The most obvious benefit to any yoga pose is the ability to release tension from the muscles and joints. Allow your head to hang in Adho Mukha Svanasana is great to removing the strain from your shoulders. Additionally, the flow of blood to the brain calms the nerves, improves memory and concentration, and also reduces your stress levels. You may also find that Downward Dog relieves you of headaches, insomnia, and even mild depression.
This key foundational pose unleashes some of the best benefits in a yoga practice while effortlessly linking together other postures. By simply doing Downward Dog throughout the day, you can strengthen and stretch the entire body, combat that dreaded computer hunch, and even brighten your mood!