Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This pose is widely recognized and it stretches and strengthens your ENTIRE body.
It seems like an easy pose, but not for me. Having tight hamstrings, I did not enjoy this pose at all. Since there are so many benefits to this pose, this must be integrated to my yoga practice.
I’m happy to achieve better results with much practice and endurance!
- Strengthens the upper body (shoulders, arms, abdominal muscles).
- Stretches the lower body (hamstrings, calves and ankles).
- Increase blood circulation as your heart is above your body.
- Improves your posture (opens your chest and shoulders, allowing you to straighten your vertebrae and align your spine).
- Palms underneath the shoulders, knees under the hips on the floor.
- Press your palms, tuck your toes, lift your hips,
straighten your legs to come up into downward facing dog.
- Press your heels and palms firmly to the ground, gaze towards the navel.
- Keep your head and neck relax, hold for 5 breaths.
(You can keep your elbows and knees slightly bent)
Variation (for those who have injury or other reasons):
Place palms on the chair.
- Shoulder flexors, pectoralis and deltoids are engaged.
- Latissimus dorsi is stretched.
- Transversus abdominis and spinal extensors are engaged.
- Gluteus maximus are engaged.
- Hips flexor is engaged.
- Hip extensors and plantar flexors are stretched.
- Hamstrings are stretched.
- Quadriceps are engaged.
- Gastrocnemius, soleus are flexor hallucis longus are stretched.
- Ankle dorsiflexors are engaged.