How does Downward Dog Improve Health
I had really wanted to like yoga. . . but, I have to admit, the first yoga class I attended over a decade ago, I didn’t enjoy. I was expecting too much from my body. I recall struggling with every position; and we so much time in Downward-facing Dog and other seemingly awkward poses. I was suffering. My breath was out of sync, I wasn’t breathing when I was supposed to. I decided yoga wasn’t for me.
Then, many years passed. I decided to give yoga another try.
New perceptions and different experiences come with time and age.
Five years ago, I reattempted yoga after my previous attempt. I signed up for a yoga class for athletes. It was perfect, we were all stiff as a board. In this class I made peace with yoga and began to enjoy the Downward-facing Dog resting pose. My expectations had changed. I gave myself time to learn how to focus and control my breath.
There is a vital link between the breath and the body’s life force.
Downward Dog Pose Benefits
Resting in Downward-facing Dog pose strengthens the musculature of the arms, shoulders, chest, and upper back. It stretches the muscles in the ankles, calves, thighs, and low back. The forward bend affects the stomach and intestines, helping improve digestion. Deep resting breathes in Downward-facing Dog can alleviate anxiety, sadness, and agitation, and fatigue; allowing the mind to feel calm and the body to feel energized.
Downward-facing Dog, sometimes referred to as “Down Dog,” activates the bladder meridian which is the longest meridian in the body. It has 67 acupuncture points and runs from the inner eye, up and over the head, down the entire spine and posterior leg, along the side of the foot, ending at the small toe (pinkie toe).
The back of the body is the most yang (external, superficial), acting as the initial connection with the outside world. It is considered the first line of defense against invaders from the external environment (cold, wind, pollens, microbes).
Downward-facing Dog allows for elongation of the bladder channel, encouraging the flow of qi (energy) and strengthening the primary immune defense.
Keep in mind, Downward-facing Dog is not for everyone (i.e. the pregnant, the carpal-tunnel sufferers, and those experiencing diarrhea, etc.)
I recommend showing up or signing up for a class at a local yoga studio near you. The art and practice of yoga is not a competition, work within the means of your own body and ability. The instructor will guide you in keeping good form which protects you against injury during class.
Movement is an important part of your heath maintenance lifestyle.