5 Reasons to practice Downward Dog every day
Downward Facing Dog is one of the most commonly practiced and most iconic yoga postures around. In fact, I would be willing to bet that when most people think of ‘yoga,’ this pose naturally comes to mind.
But do you really take the time to dig into your Downward Dog, to really allow it to nourish and nurture your body?
This pose has so many health benefits ... Here are five reasons why we should mindfully practice this pose every day.
Opens the Backs of the Legs
Most of the 'normal' things we do during the day can bring tension to the backs of the legs, like walking, running, moving, standing, sitting. Which is the reason why so many of us can suffer from tight hamstrings and calf muscles.
Downward Facing Dog is not only an awesome posture for opening and stretching the backs of the legs, it’s also easy to keep the spine in a beneficial position while doing so.
Elongates the Spine
The traction we get from planting our feet and then pushing our flat palms strongly into the floor is one of the best spinal elongation tools that a yoga practice has to offer.
When practicing Downward Facing Dog we are using gravity as our friend, thereby reversing the usual downward pressure on the spine, and helping to gently re-align the vertebra in a natural, easy way.
Brings Awareness to our Breathing
Because this pose is not a very complicated one, there’s less chance of injury, which means we can really slow down and take some time to tune in and deepen our breath.
Note: If you are someone who finds seated meditation challenging, using Downward Dog as a place to tune in to your breath is an awesome option.
Strengthens and Opens the Chest
Posture-wise, the ‘hunched’ position that most of us hang out in all day (especially since people started spending so much time on social media), causes our shoulders to round and the chest muscles to tighten.
Downward Facing Dog helps us to re-establish opening in our chest muscles. And this opening in the chest helps to reduce pain and pressure in the shoulders and upper back.
Strengthens the Arms
Downward Facing Dog is awesome for increasing our upper body strength in general, and our arm strength in particular—as long as we’re practicing the posture properly!
It’s easy to dump all our weight onto our shoulders and chest in this pose, which naturally will not do much for our arms. But if we can bring our attention to really pressing our hands into our mat, and rolling our biceps away from our ears, we will get some fabulous muscular engagement throughout our arms, which in turn will help to build strength and stamina in our muscles.
Do you practice this pose on a regular basis? What are some of the things you notice happening in your body when you do?
Have yourself a great day :)