downward facing dog postureIf you’ve been practicing yoga for some time, you are well aware that downward facing dog is a very common pose. The pose looks a little different with each yogi because our bodies are proportioned differently and because our levels of flexibility vary greatly. Did you know that there are some awesome health benefits that can come as a result of this pose? See the benefits below.

Here are just five of the benefits of the downward facing dog posture.

1. Enhances Digestion

You’ve likely heard your yoga instructor ask you to pull your navel into the spine as you perform downward facing dog in class. There is good reason behind taking advantage of the compression benefits of this pose, even though downward dog isn’t considered a full folding pose. This slight compression (of pulling navel into spine) encourages the digestive function of the spleen, liver, and kidneys.

2. Naturally Energizing

You don’t have to take my word for it, when foremost yogis like Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar (or B.S.K. Iyngar), the founder of Iyengar-style yoga, declares the benefits of downward dog as a natural energizing posture. According to Iyngar, a mere minute in this pose will “bring back lost energy for runners after a hard race.”

3. Promotes Blood Circulation

While downward facing dog is a semi-folding pose—it’s also considered an inversion posture. Positioning the head below the heart flips the gravitational norm, encouraging the circulatory system to pump fresh blood through the body, flushing toxins, regulating blood pressure, and boosting immune health.

4. Strengthens Bones

If you’re new to yoga, even holding downward dog for a few seconds can cause the muscles in your upper half to tremble. This is good—shaking means the muscles in the arms and shoulders are being challenged as they support more of your body weight. Not only do poses like downward dog promote upper body strength; they also strengthen bone density and help prevent osteoporosis.

5. Strengthens the Core

Envision yourself taking downward facing dog pose— engage through the core, draw up through the quadriceps, draw the hips up and back as you aim your sacrum at the ceiling, ground down toward the earth through the heels, let your shoulders melt down your back, and keep your upper body strong as you ground down through the hands and spread your fingers wide. As your body forms an inverted V, your abdominals feel engaged as they support the spine and prevent you from caving in through the chest.

What are some of the reasons that you like downward facing dog? To see three additional benefits of downward facing dog, see the original article at Active Beat.

Source: Active Beat

Image Source: Lisa Cyr

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5 Surprising Benefits of Downward Facing Dog
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