If you’ve ever been to a Yoga class before, each sequence that you practise will – most probably – contain one or two transitions into downward dog. What this means is that when you move from one position into another, you’ll use downward dog as your halfway point between pose one and pose two. But why is this so? Read on and we’ll tell you.
Downward Dog works all the right places
This Yoga position – or asana – works and stretches multiple parts of the body. It stretches your entire back and opens your shoulders. In Downward Dog, your legs – in particular your calves and hamstrings – as well as your ankles, arms and wrists are strengthened. Today, as many of us spend most of our days hunched over our computers, this is a great pose to correct your posture as it forces you to counteract the position of your shoulders being hunched over.
You’ll feel extremely energised
All inverted poses – where your head is above your heart as it is with downward dog – leave you feeling energised. In addition, if you’re feeling stressed or anxious, haul out your Yoga mat and get into Downward Dog for a minute or two. You’ll come out of it feeling like you can tackle the world again!
Downward Dog helps to strengthen bones
We all know that to stave off the onset of osteoporosis in older age, we need to do weight-bearing exercises on a regular basis. For example, weight-lifting. (Want to find out what other weight-bearing exercises there are out there? Follow this link to discover what these are.) The good news for those who don’t like pumping iron is that Downward Dog is a form of weight-bearing exercise that will help keep you healthy in later life.
How to do Downward Dog
- Start on your mat and get onto all fours. Have your hands slightly in front of your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Spread out your finders with your middle finger facing forwards. Tuck your toes under.
- Exhale and life your knees away from the floor. At first, keep your knees slightly bent and your hips lifted away from the floor. At first, keep your knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor.
- Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly towards your pubis. Against this resistance, lift your sitting bones towards the ceiling.
- Exhale and push the tops of your thighs back and stretch your heels onto or towards the floor. Straighten your keens but don’t lock them. Keep your outer thighs firm and roll the upper thighs slightly inward. Draw your chest into your thighs.
- Keep your outer arms firm and press the bases of your index fingers actively into the floor. From these two points, lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of your shoulders. Make sure that your inner elbows face each other.
Watch this video to see how the pose is performed:
A variation to this asana is One-Legged Downward Facing Dog or Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana as is it is called in Sanskrit. Watch how it is done:
Want a deeper understanding of Downward Dog as well as other Yoga poses? Do you want to be able to share your passion for Yoga with others? If so you need to become a Yoga instructor and Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Yoga Certification is the perfect course which will help you make your dream a reality.
Course modules – in our extremely comprehensive Yoga course – include:
- Preparatory exercises for your Yoga session
- Sun Salutations
- Standing poses
- Forward bends
- Backward bends
- Arm balances
- Inverted postures
And so much more!
We are proud to say that our Yoga Certification is fully endorsed by the Yoga Teachers Fellowship of South Africa. In addition it is the only Yoga Course to be accredited by the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport SETA (CATHSSETA). For more information and to sign up, follow this link.