Learn all about downward dog pose
Healthy Living

What Is Downward Dog Pose? How Can It Benefit My Mental And Physical Health?

The downward dog pose, or Adho Mukha Svanasana, promises our holistic well-being. It helps us get a stronger and more balanced body. It also improves our mental and emotional health.

Further, this practice is believed to be a symbol of companionship, unconditional love, and loyalty. This pose is again associated with courage and strength.

In addition, this pose improves blood flow in your body for better functionality and improved energy levels. Do you want to know more about this effective Yoga pose? Here’s a complete guide for you.

What Is Downward Dog Pose? 

The downward dog pose belongs to the sequence of the Sun salutation. This Yoga pose takes us back to the ancient days. You will find the mention of this pose in “Hatha Yoga Pradipika.” Another ancient text to discuss this pose is “Yoga Korunta.” 

Further, this Yoga pose is important for its restorative and therapeutic benefits. It also helps you become more active and stronger as a person. So, from Yogis to individuals who want to achieve “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body” can always benefit from this pose.

Check out the video below to know how you can practice this pose. However, this pose must be practiced under expert supervision and only when you don’t have the medical complications discussed later.

When Should I Practice The Downward Dog Pose? 

When Should I Practice The Downward Dog Pose? 

You must practice this pose in the early morning. Make sure that your bowels and stomach are empty when you are doing this pose. Also, you can only practice this pose after 4-6 hours of having any food.

You will not get the required stamina and strength if the food you have eaten is not digested properly and you are not feeling energetic. 

To optimize the physical and mental health benefits of this Yoga pose, you can practice two times a day. However, as mentioned, please be mindful of the gap between having food and your practice session. 

Did You Know?

Are you familiar with the downward dog pose in dogs? In this pose, the dog or pup stretches the front paws. Their forearms remain on the ground, and their chest is a little above the ground. 

In this pose, the hind legs of a dog remain elevated. The dog also wags its tail in this posture. 

Through this pose, dogs and puppies express their happiness, love, and comfort for a particular person. Adorable! Isn’t it? 

However, some dogs also use this posture to express mild back pain or pancreatic problems. So, if your furry friend is making this posture frequently, it’s best to visit a vet and know the reason. 

What Are The Downward Dog Pose Benefits?

What Are The Downward Dog Pose Benefits?

Do you know why the downward dog pose is so beneficial? I can mention primarily two reasons behind the benefits of this foundational Yoga pose. First of all, it’s symmetrical. So, when you practice it, both sides of your body go through similar experiences through the same activities.

At the same time, this Yoga pose involves inversion. So, you will bend your head below your heart. This aspect of the pose also makes it beneficial for your physical health.

Do you want to know more about the benefits of this pose? Let’s discuss. 

Benefits Of Downward Facing Dog Pose On Your Physical Health

Benefits Of Downward Facing Dog Pose On Your Physical Health

Do you want to improve your posture? Do you want to find relief from your annoying back pain? You must try this Yoga pose. Many other advantages of this Yoga pose are discussed in the following sections.

Your Entire Body Is Stretched While Practising This Asana

When you practice the downward dog pose, you engage almost all parts of your body. So, with strength in all muscles of your body, there is an improvement in their strength. Also, the stretched muscles release tension.

So, your body becomes more functional, and you become more active with the practice of this pose. Do you know which body parts are engaged in this Yoga pose? 

  • Achilles tendon
  • Calves
  • Hamstrings

Further, while practicing this pose, you will feel the stretch from your legs to your side body and spine. 

Your Posture Improves 

Do you spend long hours at computers? Are you always busy with your phone? Sitting in one place and staying engaged with these devices can cause compression to our spine.

Further, long hours of commuting or driving on a regular basis can promote hunching. This Yoga pose aligns and elongates your spine. So, you notice major improvements in your posture. 

This Pose Reduces Back Pain

Many people practice this pose for better spinal alignment. To put it simply, as you practice this pose, your spinal cord is elongated. In this way, tension is alleviated in the muscles and joints around your spinal cord.

So, you get relief from chronic back pain with the practice of this pose. 

This Pose Makes Your Upper Body Stronger

In the downward dog pose, you have to put much pressure on your hands. Also, in this pose, your shoulders will be moved outward and away from your ears. 

Now, how does this posture help in improving your upper body strength? It engages and works on the muscles in your chest, shoulders, and arms. In this way, they become stronger and more flexible. 

Great For Full-Body Strength Building 

If you want to increase the strength of your entire body or there are specific strength-building requirements, your trainer will modify the pose.

Suppose you want to build strength in your legs and torso. Your trainer will ask you not to place your feet flat on the mat. On the contrary, the trainer will instruct you to lift your feet a little so that the pressure is on the balls of your legs. In this way, the muscles in your core and legs will get engaged for better strength building. 

This Yoga pose is versatile and has many variations, including the downward dog split pose, long dog, and short dog. In addition, according to your comfort and requirements, your trainer will be able to modify this pose in many ways. 

Makes Your Body More Stable And Balanced 

While practicing the downward dog pose, you need to hold your body in an inverted or reversed V shape. Thanks to the posture, your core muscles get engaged

So, if you practice this pose regularly, your core muscles will become stronger. There will also be an improvement in your body’s stability and balance. 

Further, when your body has better balance and stability, it will be more prone to accidents and injuries. 

Improves Your Digestive System 

The downward dog pose is beneficial for your digestive system and gut health. In this pose, your head is moved downward. Further, in this pose, you need to lift your hips, going against gravitational force. 

So, there is a smooth movement of the waste through your digestive system. Thus, this pose helps you to fight constipation and many other gut-related problems

Downward Facing Dog Pose Benefit On Mental Health 

Downward Facing Dog Pose Benefit On Mental Health 

The benefits of the downward yoga pose are not limited to improved physical health. You will also notice remarkable improvement in your emotional and energetic state with the practice of this pose.

Downward Dog Pose Makes Your Mind Calm

Are you looking for a Yoga pose that will keep your mind calm and relaxed? You can practice this Yoga pose on a regular basis.

It is a grounding Yoga pose. So, include this in your fitness session to improve your overall mental state. 

It Makes You More Focused And Gives You Better Clarity

Did you know that the downward dog pose is used for therapeutic purposes in mild depression and mental fogginess? Further, this pose improves your mental focus and makes your thought process more clear.

I have already mentioned that the Downward dog Yoga pose is an inverted pose. Your head goes down your heart in this pose. As a result, your brain gets enough blood flow, and it becomes more functional. 

It Released Tension And Offer Relief From Headaches 

Do you have to deal with severe tension on a regular basis? Do you suffer from migraine or headache? You can practice the downward dog pose daily to alleviate these problems. 

You need to lower your head in this pose. So, there is an increase in the blood flow to your head. With improved blood circulation, you get quick relief from migraines and headaches.

In addition, this Yoga pose helps you improve your sleeping habits. 

Helps To Alleviate Anxiety And Stress 

Our body and mind feel relaxed with the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. Further, the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system happens due to relaxed breathing while practicing this pose.

So, you can practice this pose regularly to get rid of anxiety and stress. With time, you will enjoy better mental health. 

What Are The Disadvantages Of Downward Dog Pose?

Now that you know the many benefits of the downward dog pose, you must also be aware of the disadvantages. 

This pose puts a lot of pressure on your arms and shoulders. So, you cannot try this pose until you have achieved a certain level of fitness. Your shoulders need to be open, and your hands need to be strong to try this pose.

Further, even the slightest mistake in the Yoga pose can cause damage to many parts of your body. If you don’t practice this pose under expert guidance, you will end up damaging your legs, arms, shoulders, wrists, back, and neck. 

Moreover, many people experience stiffness in their neck and shoulders immediately after practicing this pose. So, keep the following things in mind if you really want to try this pose.

  • Expert guidance is essential to get the techniques on point.
  • You must not try this pose before your trainer finds you suitable for it and you have the desired fitness level.
  • If you have any medical history of back/shoulder/hand pain or injury, you must not take this pose. 

Who Should Avoid Practicing The Downward Dog Pose? 

Who Should Avoid Practicing The Downward Dog Pose? 

You already know that the downward dog pose has a lot of benefits. It works for the betterment of your spinal alignment, and it also improves blood flow in your body. However, not everyone can practice this pose. 

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, meaning if you feel tingling sensations in your fingers, you must not practice this Yoga pose. Women in late pregnancy should also avoid this pose.

Further, this Yoga pose is a big No-No if you have high blood pressure. In addition, the downward dog pose is not meant for people who have injuries in their arms, back, and shoulders.

In addition, if you have infections in your inner ears or eyes, discomfort may increase with the practice of the downward dog pose. Also, if you have just begun your fitness journey, you must avoid this Yoga pose. 

This pose is not allowed for people with more serious health conditions like cardiac issues, vertigo, and slipped discs. 

Final Words 

The downward dog pose helps you stretch your entire body. Your body also becomes stronger and less susceptible to injuries with the regular practice of this pose. Further, this pose works brilliantly to calm your anxious mind.

However, perfecting the pose is not as simple as it looks. So, always practice this pose under your trainer’s supervision. Further, if you feel uncomfortable and there is any pain in your body during the practice session, stop this Yoga pose immediately.

In addition, if you feel that you can’t breathe properly during this pose, tell your trainer and get back to a relaxed position.

This Yoga pose has many variations. So, if you find difficulty with certain parts of the Yoga pose, your trainer will offer you proper assistance with additional accessories and modifications. 

That’s it! If you really want to try this pose, compare the pros and cons and also consider your physical condition before getting into it. Also, if you are someone who has been practicing this pose for the longest time, don’t forget to share your input and before-after stories.

sibashree bhattacharya
Sibashree has been into SEO and eCommerce content writing for more than 9 years. She loves reading books and is a huge fan of those over-the-top period dramas. Her favorite niches are fashion, lifestyle, beauty, traveling, relationships, women's interests, and movies. The strength of her writing lies in thorough research backing and an understanding of readers’ pain points.

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