5 Reasons Dogward Dog is the Ultimate Prone Pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana: Adho - Downward, Mukha - Face, Svana - Dog
(AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna)

This pose is great for several reasons but lets break down what actually happens in your body when you are doing downward dog.

1. Stretching the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and hands

2. Increase the mobility of the spine by tractioning the back

3. Opens the groin and helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and relieves menstrual discomfort

4. Strengthens the arms and legs

5. It is restorative and energizing. Downward Dog places the body in an inverted position.  Inversions help the brain relax. It also relaxes the heart because the chest opens. Since the whole body is working it is an invegerating pose.

Do not do prone poses after abdominal operations.

1. Lie face down on the floor.

Take the feet 1 foot apart if you do not suffer from chronic pain.

If you do suffer from chronic pain take your feet wider.

Bend the elbows and place the hands beside the rib cage. Open the palms and spread the fingers with the middle fingers pointing forward.  If you can't get the middle fingers pointing upward start with the index fingers and work up to getting the middle finger pointing up.

2. Tuck the toes under. If you suffer specifically with sciatic, piriformis, or SI joint pain, turn your toes in and your heels out. Raise the head and trunk; bend the legs to raise the hips. Straighten the arms.

3. Raise your hips into the air and press back with your hands, keeping your knees bent. After you get your arms extending fully, straighten your legs and start dropping your heels.

4. Pull in your abdominals, press your heels as close to the floor as you are able, pull up on your knee caps to keep your quads engaged, press through your index finger joint.

Chronic Pain Warrior Advice:

Just starting out, get into the pose and hold for 10 seconds only. Work up to 1 - 3 minutes.  I'm at a minute and it has taken me a year of work, to get to a minute.

Go slow and you can use props. Also, you should be 'warmed up' before going into this pose.

We will talk about a good chronic pain warrior flow later.

If you have difficulty releasing and opening your shoulders in this pose, raise your hands off the floor on a pair of blocks (if you don't have blocks) or the seat of a metal folding chair.

You can also modify the pose by resting your head on a block or bolster (if you don't have a bolster) .

This is the one pose my yoga master wants me to do everyday.  That says something when there is a world of poses out there.

Take it slow chronic pain warriors and soon you will see benefits - consistency not intensity.

Side note.  I'm wearing my IFC/TENS unit because I have been in pain the last 3 days.  Doing this pose didn't increase my pain, if anything it helped it settle down a little.