a d h o m u k h a ś v ā n ā s a n a
My housemate recently asked me, ‘Iz, what’s the deal with downward dog?’.
Downward dog, although used regularly in practice is a deceptively challenging posture that requires lots of strength. If attempting this for the first time, do not be peterbed if this is not the most comfortable position. Incredible how a full yoga class of budding yogis with fantastic downward dogs can put you off for good. This pose will come to you after practice and patience. If your starting out bend your knees, this will help align your back and help open up your hamstrings slowly, instead of jamming into your heel. If your wrists are feeling weak, place your foreams down, into Dophin pose or use blocks.
DD is used regularly in yoga because of its ‘all in one’ benefits;
- — Reverses pressure on your spine, which can be beneficial for neck and shoulder injuries
- — Opens up your hamstrings, especially tight if your walking around the hard streets of London
- — Opens the chest, creating the opposite action of sitting at your computer/phone all day
- — Increases arm strength, although its easy to plummet your weight down into chest and shoulders, by pushing away from your hands and rolling the biceps away from the ears we can gain better strength through the whole arm. This pushing sensations can also prevent sore wrists, (a common issue in DD).
‘BKS Iyengar, one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world, asserts that this asana stretches the shoulders, legs, spine and whole body; builds strength throughout the body, particularly the arms, legs, and feet; relieves fatigue and rejuvenates the body; improves the immune system, digestion and blood flow to the sinuses, and calms the mind and lifts the spirits.’
Downward dog is also used in yoga to create a period of reflection, in this pose we can take inventory of our bodies, start to tune in with what’s feeling a little tight and areas which are feeling softer.
If you are still confused by the concept, please feel free to pop to class!
Your Yoga Friend X