Six Reasons to Practice Downward Dog

As we navigate this difficult time, you might be left wondering how to prioritize self-care whilst juggling multiple priorities.  It’s important to remember that movement and physical activity boost not only our physical health, but also our mental and emotional well-being, and downward dog is an easy and quick way to reap those benefits.

Downward dog, used in yoga both as a transitional and resting position, stretches and strengthens almost every muscle in the body while providing the benefits of inversions as well as stress-relieving benefits.

To practice downward dog, start kneeling on all fours, then with an inhalation, straighten your legs and lift your hips to the ceiling so that your body is in an inverted “V”. Relax your head down, look back toward the navel, and try to straighten your legs while pushing your heels toward the floor.

Strengthens the upper body
The stabilizing position of downward dog strengthens muscles in the arms, upper back and shoulders.

Elongates the spine
Downward dog is a partial inversion, so the usual downward pressure on the spine is reversed and your vertebrae are realigned in a gentle way.

Strengthens hands, wrists, and fingers
Because it is a weight-bearing posture, it will strengthen your hands and wrists and help prepare you for other postures where there is a lot of weight in the hands.

Opens up the backs of the legs
Downward dog stretches and widens the hamstrings, the calves, and the Achilles tendon.

Improves circulation
In downward dog, your head is lower than your heart, so it has the benefits of inversions and improves the blood flow through your body.

Relieves tension and stress
Downward dog stretches and helps to relieve tension from the neck and back. The flow of blood to the brain helps to relieve headaches, mental fogginess, and mild depression.

From Employee Wellness news 4/29/2020