My faithful friends

My faithful friends

Everyone of us holds treasured thoughts and mental pictures of experiences and loved ones and no one can take that away from us. For me, one of the most treasured and joyful mental pictures is of my Leo getting out of his bed and immediately doing a perfect “downward dog” to release every muscle of his body, before he trotted off about his important business. Leo, my pet dog and faithful companion of 19 years ‘taught’ me the benefits of Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing Dog Yoga Asana).

This asana is my desert island pose and will forever have a place in my heart.

It has also become my faithful friend because I can rely on it to set me right.

It is an important pose that forms part of Surya Namaskar.(Sun Salutation)

Therapeutic Benefits of Downward Dog pose

  1. Restores, gives energy and removes fatigue
  2. Eases shoulder stiffness and relieves arthritic shoulder joints
  3. Enhances blood circulation
  4. Rejuvenates the brain cells and invigorates the brain
  5. Improves the functions of the digestive organs
  6. Slows the heartbeat as the diaphragm is lifted to the chest cavity.

Physical benefits of Downward Dog pose

  1. Stretches the gluteal muscles, hamstrings, calves and Achilles tendons
  2. Tones the abdominal muscles
  3. Strengthens the arms and shapes the legs
  4. Strengthens the Quadriceps and anterior tibialis
  5. Increase flexibility of the ankles

Technique (Getting into the pose)

  1. Begin in Balasana (Child’s pose) with arms extended in front.
  2. Rest the palms by the side of chest, fingers straight and pointing forward. Elbows close to the ribs
  3. Press down with hands and lift forearms away from the ground
  4. Externally rotate the shoulders and straighten elbows.
  5. Inhale and draw yourself up to your hands and knees, feet hip distance apart.
  6. Exhale and press hips back and up and lift the sitting bones
  7. Draw the stomach in towards the spine.
  8. Ensure feet are parallel and let head hang
  9. Press heels to the ground
  10. Align ears with the upper arms

Technique (Getting out of the pose)

Inhaling and lower the body down to the floor. Relax the arms by the side of the body back into Child pose

Tips:

  1. Keep the weight evenly on both arms and legs
  2. Hands must be firmly grounded
  3. From the diaphragm stretch the abdomen up and chest down
  4. Focus on the power of the thighs to hold this asana steady

Contraindications:

Sciatica, lower back problems, carpel tunnel syndrome

Persons suffering from high blood pressure can do this pose.

Val Adams