Perhaps you’re an advanced yoga student, or perhaps you’ve been to one or two yoga classes but the rest of you who have not experienced yoga (we hope reading this post will convince you to give it a try!) may at least be familiar with famous yoga poses you’ve seen on television or in magazines.
When doing yoga, mental focus and the right breathing technique are vital to achieve the desired state of tranquility, but so is precision in the poses that you assume. Posture and positioning play essential roles in Yoga to make sure that your body, mind and soul reap the benefits of this ancient discipline.
Almost a thousand yoga poses have been established since the creation of yoga a few millenniums ago, but while your body has flexed well to take on the positions choreographed and instructed by your yogi or yoga instructor, are you aware of why these poses are good for your body?
FinerMinds is dedicating a pose for each day of this week to show how yoga works with your body to help you attain mental and physical balance… starting with the downward-facing dog.
The Downward-Facing Dog Pose
In this upside down V position, your hands should be shoulder-width apart, your fingers spread evenly, your palms pressed flat on the ground line and your feet placed at hips-width apart. Your neck and head should be in line with your back, while your upper and lower body should support your weight equally.
Benefits of the Downward-Facing Dog
This famous upside down V trains your body to elongate and lengthen backs and shoulders, which can help to decrease back and shoulder pains. Also, due to the spread and balance of weight in this position, your hands, wrist, hamstrings, calves and even your heels are being conditioned. Having your cervical spine and neck elongated naturally through the stretch also relaxes your head and is known to decrease anxiety.
The downward-facing dog also assists the body internally, as explained by acupuncturist Sara Calabro. Through her recent article, Sara revealed that the pose activates your “bladder channel”, the longest channel in the human body according to acupuncture; starting from your head, down your entire spine and to your pinkie toe.
The bladder channel guards the outermost part of your body’s internal defense line against the cold, wind, germs and so forth. This is why acupuncture points along this channel are often needled to eliminate flu symptoms as well as boost immunity. They also target health issues such as headaches, neck pain, back pain and pulled hamstrings.
Therefore, by elongating the bladder channel through the downward-facing dog, you are strengthening your body’s “primary defense mechanism”.
But the prime reason why this pose is “such a gem of a yoga pose,” added Sara, is because “it contains what are known in acupuncture as the Back Shu points.” Back Shu points transport blood and fluids to the organs associated with that point and are used in acupuncture to treat diseases including anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, and insomnia.
“Downward-facing dog is unique in its ability to engage, in one fell swoop, acupuncture’s largest and most all-encompassing channel,” she concluded.
Tomorrow, the Crow pose will descend upon you with its benefits…