When people think of yoga, what do you think is the most common pose first mentioned? Well, you might have guessed Downward Facing Dog, or Adho Mukha Svanasana and you’d be right. It is a multi-faceted yoga pose that is practiced in most styles and is used as a strengthening, transitioning and/or relaxing pose.
Most don’t know the true health benefits to the whole being. It deserves a lot more ‘Bravo’ then it’s getting.
How often when you’re moving into a Downward Facing Dog Pose are you really, truly taking time to dig deep and surrender your ‘self’ to allow to be really nurtured and nourished?
Here are five reasons why you should practice Downward-Facing Dog every day and be mindful when you practice it.
1. Gravity is Your Friend in Opening the Backs of the Legs
Tension, tension, tension. Everything we do involves the legs in one form or another: sitting (yes, this allows muscles to tighten), standing, walking and running. And without stretching out the hamstrings and calf muscles regularly, they will continue to remain chronically overly tight.
Gravity plus Downward Facing Dog equals an awesome stretch of the back of the legs while keeping your spine in the correct alignment for great benefits. This is one of my favorite yoga poses for the spine. It’s also a yoga posture that doesn’t need to be part of a yoga sequence or routine as a warm up to get into it.
It’s not always easy to keep the spine elongated in other yoga poses like Child’s Pose or other seated forward folding poses. With this pose, you’re able to work the spine, get a good stretch and work the tiny muscles without hurting the rest of your body posture.
2. Elongates the Spine
One of the best ways to elongate the spine is with the traction you get when you plant your feet and push your hands strongly into the mat.
Gravity works on your spine by gently re-aligning the vertebra as there is no downward pressure on the spine in this pose.
Downward Facing Dog is a great alternative to going fully upside-down. It has all of the benefits which is great especially for those that have neck, shoulder injuries or still new to yoga and haven’t mastered the strength and balance inverted.