The most basic and widely-known yoga pose is down dog. Even if you’ve never attended a yoga class, you most likely have heard of this one. Downward facing dog has many jobs and functions, among them–assessment pose, transitional pose, resting pose, strengthening pose, inversion pose and rejuvenator. I also use it frequently in my Pilates classes to build strength and endurance.
The role of downward facing dog is vast. Done properly and consistently, the most noticeable benefits include:
- Stronger hands, wrists, low-back, hamstrings, calves and Achilles tendon
- Decrease in back pain by strengthening the entire back and shoulder girdle
- Elongated shoulders and shoulder blade area
- Decrease in tension and headaches by elongating the cervical spine and neck and relaxing the head
- Deepened respiration
- Decreased anxiety
- Increased full-body circulation
Down Dog can also be used in sequences such as Sun Salutations and Vinyasa Flow. So many poses and exercises can revolve around Down Dog making it a must have in any mind/body class!