Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Why Do We Practice Downward Dog

Downward dog is one of my favorite postures.

Here are some of the reasons why:

It builds bone density. Downward Dog as well as other arm balances that place weight on the arms and shoulders are great for building upper body strength and preserving bone density, which is especially important to women as they age and their risk for osteoporosis increases.

It wakes you up. As per B.S.K. Iyngar, founder of Iyngar yoga, Downward Dog is one of the best poses you can do when you're fatigued. It works well for athletes who have lost lots of energy after strenuous workouts, as well as those of us who just find themselves tired after a long day of work or activity.

It eliminates stiffness and back pain. Downward dog helps increase flexibility of the upper back and makes it less likely to store tension. It is highly recommended for people who get pain in their shoulders and upper back.

It boosts circulation. Yoga postures where the heart is above the head are great for the circulatory system, encouraging blood flow throughout the body. An active circulatory system helps flush toxins from our body, keeps our immune system in tip-top shape, and helps regulate blood pressure.

It can be easily modified. If you are overweight or have stiff shoulders, it can be difficult, or even painful, to put all your weight on your arms in downward dog. If you find the posture uncomfortable, you can practice it on the forearms, with the hands on a wall, or the hands pushing down on the back of a chair. (Please, always consult your doctor about practicing yoga if you have high blood pressure or other serious injuries.)

It allows you to check in with your body. Downward dog is a great posture for "checking in" with how you feel and for realigning the body. The posture stretches the arms, legs and back, all at once, so you can easily tell how each part of your body feels.

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