Man/Woman’s Best Friend…Downward Dog
Remember when we were kids and we used to hang upside down all the time…from the monkey bars, in trees, and on the back of the couch while watching Sesame Street. We knew what we were doing, well, maybe not for everything. We may not have known our right from our left or how to tie our shoes, but we instinctually knew that getting our head below our heart was good for us. And, it was, and really still is.
Downward Facing Dog is one of the most recognized and perhaps practiced poses in yoga. It’s fun to say, especially in Sanskrit Adho Mukha Svanasana, but more importantly downward dog has a crazy amount of benefits. It stretches your back, legs, arms and chest. It strengthens your arms, shoulders, legs and feet. It calms your mind, increases your circulation, it is great for your heart as well as your brain, and one of my favorites; because I’m a bit vain, it gives you great facial skin. Most importantly though downward facing dog is an awesome counter pose, for yoga and well, for life.
We spend a lot of our day upright: walking, at our desks, driving, standing and just living. Even in my best Netflix binge-watching yoga pose, my head is above my heart. Downward Dog counteracts that. It is a grounding, strengthening, relaxing, stress reducing energizing face-lifting (honestly) super pose. If you think about it, the pose is named for that big stretch dogs give themselves when they get up from a nap. I know a lot of dogs, and honestly, most of them are pretty relaxed.
It’s not an easy pose for everyone, especially if you have tighter hamstrings, but there are awesome modifications that you can use, to be kind to your hamstrings or to practice a Down Dog anywhere. http://lotsofyoga.com/poses/downward-dog/11-ways-to-get-into-downward-facing-dog
You can modify the pose and use a wall, a table or your desk in your cubicle. It can give you a more natural energy boost then that afternoon cup of coffee. I love this Capital of ours, but trust me we have some offbeat cats working in Ottawa. Yoga at your cubicle will not be the most unusual thing happening in your office, probably not even the most unusual thing happening in your cubicle.
What we knew when we were kids was that the world looks different when we are hanging upside down. With Downward Dog, we ground down to the earth with our hands, as well as our feet. It changes our relationship with gravity. And, if you need it to, it can change your perspective on how you look at things, how you are able to deal with things, how you look at the world. Five deep breathes in downward dog, on your yoga mat or at your desk, will change your day, for the better, I promise you.
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