3 perspectives on Downward Dog

Downward Facing Dog is one of the most commonly recurring poses in any yoga sequence, and the quintessential pose you might imagine when you think “yoga”.

Yes, it is a rest pose, but one in which you must finely balance muscle action and release in order to feel the “full-body joy” that the pose offers. In a Surya Namaskar sequence, for instance, it’s the 5-breath pitstop to consciously re-balance and re-connect to the breath, if it’s gone thin or laboured somewhere along the line.

As world-renowned yoga teacher Shiva Rea rightly points out, this is a pose in which you’ll always feel you have room to grow – so it’s a good one to really observe yourself in. Every teacher may give slightly different verbal instructions for Downward Dog, but the key components of this arm-balance/inversion are the same.

Check out these 3 different takes on the pose and see which resonates with you:

1. Why do my wrists hurt in Downward Facing Dog?

This article which nicely highlights the whole-body “weight distribution and teamwork” that goes on when you’re weight-bearing on the hands. For any of you who have ever attended my classes, you’ll know that the wrists are a major pain point for me – I keep harping on about spreading the fingers wide and lifting out of the palms to protect the wrists. As it turns out, it’s important to emphasize that the action in the legs, arms and shoulders are all working together to reach this transient equilibrium of rest.

Click HERE for full article.

2. Find full-body joy in Downward Facing Dog Pose

I’ve chosen this article for its observation that Downward Dog “very clearly puts you in touch with the … push-pull dynamics of yoga asanas, [of] simultaneously creating strength and flexibility, extension and stability.”  The author also describes in depth how to distribute your weight to get that feather-light, weightless feeling in the arms – definitely worth a read.

Click HERE for full article.

3. 8 Lesser known benefits of Downward Facing Dog

If you’re not quite yet getting any joy from Down Dog, here’s a little incentive to keep you from rushing through those 5 long breaths. Stick with it and you’ll not only build arm strength and gain flexibility in the hamstrings but also improve digestion, boost your immune system, and build stronger bones. 3 more breaths, anyone?

Click HERE for full article.