Downward-facing dog is a prolific yoga pose, also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana, for those of you who speak fluent Yogi. Whether you frequently visit the mat for your yoga practice or you use this pose in other workouts, it’s always good to remember why this pose is so important in the practice of yoga.
It Provides a Deep Stretch
Yoga is notoriously great for stretching out your limbs, and downward dog is no exception. It’s not only providing you with a deep arm and shoulder stretch, but it also stretches out the lower half of your body, which doesn’t typically receive much attention.
The stretch you get from this pose will be noticeable every time you hit the mat, no matter how flexible you are, making down dog a powerful active pose.
It Strengthens Muscles
Many yoga poses focus on either strength or flexibility, but downward dog tackles both simultaneously. While you’re stretching out your top half, you’re building strength in your shoulders, and while you’re stretching out your bottom half, you’re building strength in your gluteal muscles.
It Provides Headache Relief
If you suffer from tension headaches, you may be surprised to learn that downward dog can help relieve them. Elongating your spine and increasing circulation to your head decreases tension in your body.
Even if you don’t typically suffer from headaches, you’ll benefit from this as well! Increased blood flow to your head results in a certain glow that leaves you feeling (and looking) fresh and rejuvenated.
It Improves Your Posture
For those who hunch over a desk all day, correcting years of postural damage isn’t an easy process. That said, yoga is a great practice to correct your posture, and downward dog, in particular, is successful in this regard.
By elongating your spine and activating your shoulders, down dog begins correcting postural damage, one yoga practice at a time. If you have back problems, either through injury or scoliosis, or a variety of other issues, this pose is an excellent addition to your workout regime.
It is a Great Wake-Up or Cool Down for Your Body
Finally, downward dog is the perfect way to get your body up and ready for the workout ahead of you – or to ease you out of a challenging workout.
The inverted nature of this pose places your heart above your head, which improves circulation. The increased blood flow will build up energy in your body at the start of a workout, and, this pose is a great way to get your heart rate back to normal while building a nice stretch into your post-workout cool-down.
While downward-facing dog may be a part of your regular exercise routine already, you might not have been aware of just how much benefit the pose has on your body every time you revisit it. So, if you’re utilizing the pose already, keep it up! If you’re not, it’s time to implement it into your workout routine.