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The downward facing dog yoga posture

Downward facing dog is one of the most beneficial postures in yoga
Downward facing dog is one of the most beneficial postures in yoga

Downward facing dog is one of the key  postures, or asanas, in yoga. It is often combined with other postures to form sequences or vinyasas, like the Sun Salutation sequence. It can also beneficial for beginners to move into if they are not ready for a more advanced posture that other members of a class are performing. It is at once a resting and an active posture.

Sanskrit name: adhomukha Shanasana

How to do the posture:

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a table top posture, take a breath in

  2. As you exhale, press up with your arms while lifting your hips

  3. Concentrate on lengthening your torso by pressing your arms into the floor and extending your tailbone toward the ceiling. Let your head hang relaxed between your arms

  4. Keep your knees soft. It’s not important for your heels to touch the floor at first. Allow your body to dictate this.

  5. Hold the posture for one to three minutes 

Benefits of the posture:

  • It’s a gentle but complete stretch for the shoulders, back and hamstrings

  • It increases blood flow to the brain increasing energy and a sense of alertness

  • Helps to drain sinuses, relieving pressure

  • Expands the chest, aiding breathing

  • Relieves menstrual cramps

  • Compresses the intestines, aiding digestion

Counter indications:

Don’t perform this posture in your last trimester of pregnancy.

Don’t perform it if you are suffering from diarrhea

Advanced pose:

As flexibility improves, work toward extending your arms and placing your head on the floor.



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