Daily Stretch

One of my favorite yoga poses is the downward facing dog. It is a yoga pose worth adding to your daily routine. Even if you do not practice yoga, you can still add this pose to your regular workout, in the morning when you get out of bed, post workout, or any time you have a moment to stretch. Dog owners will notice almost every time your pup wakes up, they do this very popular yoga pose. 

Benefits of a Down-Dog

  • It elongates and strengthens the spine-which is imperative if you sit at a desk for long periods of time
  • Strengthens your upper body and creates long lean muscles
  • Stretches and strengthens your legs
  • Revitalizes your energy and boosts your mood
  • Helps alleviate insomnia, stress, and mild depression
  • Can alleviate knee pain due to tightness in the calves

How To Do a Down-Dog

1. Come down on the floor onto your hands and knees. Your knees should be right under your hips and your hands should be slightly in front of your shoulders. Your whole hand should be pressed firmly against your yoga mat. Your toes should be turned under (feet flexed, not pointed). Take a deep belly breath in.

2. As you exhale, lift your knees off of the mat. While you extend your knees and press your thighs back. Stretch your heels down toward the floor. Your weight should go up through the tailbone and then down toward the floor.

3. Your shoulder blades should be firm against your back and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the head between the upper arms. 

4. Hold this pose from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. 

When coming out of the pose you can come back down onto your knees and sit back onto your heals in a child's pose or do the pose with the sun salutation (in yoga, a downward dog is part of a full sun salutation) 

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