Adho Mukha Svanasana
DOWNWARD FACING DOG
Mukha = face
Svana = dog
Downward Facing Dog is a wonderful posture that is so much more than a transition pose and a nice hamstring stretch.
Downward Facing Dog BENEFITS:
Elongates and releases tension from your spine.
Opens the hips and shoulders…yup, yoga is pretty much obsessed with those hips and shoulders :-)
Stretches hamstrings, calves, ankles, wrists and hands.
Strengthens arms, shoulders, wrists, ankles and abdominals. Be sure to pull that bellybutton into your spine to get that pelvic floor engagement…yes, the pelvic floor is another one of yoga’s obsessions ;-)
Relieves, back pain, headaches, helps to reduce insomnia and fatigue.
Helps to relieve stress by calming the nervous system when used as a mild inversion.
Tip 1: If you have tight hamstrings you may experience a "pull" of the hamstrings when in down dog that tilts the pelvis backwards or down towards the hamstrings (retroversion). This pulls the back muscles causing the
lower back to lose some of its natural arch.
How do you adapt to these tight hamstrings?
Put a micro-bend in the knees to release the hamstrings and free the lower back.
Contract your Quads!
This contraction will help to tilt the pelvis forward or up towards the mid-back (anteversion) and will
help to provide a natural arch - this helps to draw the trunk towards the thighs.
The more you work with your downward facing dog the more starts to feel like a resting and recovery posture.