Downward dog benefits include helping to release tension in the shoulders, align the spinal column, and strengthen the legs and arms. The downward dog pose lengthens and stretches the hamstrings and Achilles tendons as well as increasing ankle flexibility.
How to do the downward dog pose:
- Start with the hands and knees on the floor in the “table” position, arms below the shoulders and knees below the hips. Make sure the knees are not too far back to ensure proper alignment when the legs and elbows are straightened
- While exhaling, straighten the legs without them locking. Keep the knees slightly bent initially to help extend the spine.
- While pushing the palms down into the floor, press the chest toward the thighs and shins. Imagine your tailbone extending towards the ceiling. Free the neck of tension by allowing the ears to touch the upper arms.
- Hold the pose for 20 – 30 seconds while breathing deeply, and while pressing the heels into the floor.
Health benefits of downward dog pose:
- Strengthens the legs, arms, back and shoulders
- Helps to strengthen the bones
- Stretches the calves and hamstrings
- Helps to straighten the spine
- Helps to relieve back pain
- Helps to relieve stress
- Helps to relieve mild depression
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