Down face dog or ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA is probably the most famous of all yoga poses. It is included in most yoga classes as its a whole body stretch whilst strengthening at the same time. Our whole spine benefits as it is strengthened and lengthened equally. The shoulders and its supporting muscles are working hard to keep you inverted and are being strengthened to help us in the more challenging poses of plank or chaturanga: The lowering of the whole body in a straight line to the floor. With shoulder strengthening we also strengthen our hands and wrists, yes, we need stronger hands! The feet also benefit. Think of how delicious the stretch is of the underside of your foot as it reaches towards the mat. The calves and hamstrings also lengthen and stretch and lets not forget our thigh muscles which we fire up to help us stay inverted and strong. Down face dog is one of my go to poses and is yummy first thing in the morning after some cat-cow ( chakravakasana) movements which you can see in the video.

Think of the blood and nutrients to the face as you invert. Now, that’s why most Yoga teachers look younger! It calms the brain and helps relieve mild stress and depression as the chest is opening in the pose. Think of how we close in ourselves when we’re sad. Down face dog helps us to open our heart.

This is one super asana! So today, get on your mat. Warm up in cat-cow and slowly unravel into dog. Feel into every part of your spine as it lengthens. Your heels as they reach for the back of the room. Your shoulders moving them away from your ears. Feel into your fingers, spread wide as your strong base. Keep the back of the neck long so try not to look up.  Peddle your feet and keep in slight bend in your knees so not to over stretch your legs. Really feel into the pose and imagine what benefits this has for your brain as you look towards your feet. Try closing your eyes. A great way to start pratyahara; going inside. You can start to feel into the hands as they work hard to keep you inverted. Yes. Down face dog is an inversion so no need to do the more scary poses of headstand. What’s not to love about this most practiced and cherished  pose?

I’m just off to practice this wonderful pose and I hope you will too. Namaste.

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