The slow gentle stretches in yoga have many benefits to your overall posture, without straining your joints.
The downward dog is the pose that most people will have heard of.
The benefits to this pose are many:
- Strengthening: The downward dog is great for strengthening the body – in particular the shoulders, the arms and the legs.
- Lengthening: The spine is lengthened in the downward dog, which helps to relieve pain in the upper, middle and lower back.
- Circulation boosting: As a gentle inversion of your body, the flow of blood is reversed in the body which benefits the circulatory and lymphatic systems which combats the effect of gravity.
- Tension decreasing: Because this posture is a gentle inversion, which reverses the flow of blood in the body, the downward dog benefits the circulatory and lymphatic systems and fights the effects of gravity on the body.
- Keeping you supple: Opening up the hips and stretching out increases suppleness, and this pose is particularly good for athletes who tend to use the same muscles over again. It prevents tightening, and opens up the body ensuring great flexibility.
Now you’ve heard the benefits, make sure you are doing the downward dog correctly.
Start from a standing position and fold your body in half at the hips. Put your hands flat on the floor so your shoulders are directly over your wrists and your hips over your knees.
Lift your hips up and push your rear upwards as far as you can. Make sure you keep your spine flat and extend the backs of your legs gently. Spread your fingers and look towards your feet.