Every month, SaverinaScozzari.com contributor Katie McClelland picks a yoga pose. Check out this month's pose along with the benefits below.
Downward Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward dog is a beautifully delicious pose that invites you to take a break from the demands of the outside world and turn your attention inwards. One of yoga's most recognizable poses, it is also one of the most beneficial! Not only does it stretch and relieve tight shoulders, hips and hamstrings, it lowers the heart rate and relaxes the mind by positioning the head below the heart.
A seasoned yoga practitioner may be able to hold downward dog almost effortlessly for minutes at a time but a newcomer to yoga may initially find this pose challenging! It takes time to open up the shoulders and hamstrings so be patient with yourself.
To work through some of the restrictions you may encounter in your body in this pose, try generously bending the knees and focus on reaching the hips high. Take the arms wider then shoulder width if need be, spread the fingers wide and press the hands down and forward to send the hips as far away from the hands as possible. Create some space between the shoulders and the ears by rolling the outer armpits down towards the floor. Completely relax the head and face and allow your breath to flow in and out of the nose, slow and smooth. When you are ready to come out of downward dog, lower your knees to the floor and sit your hips back on to your heels.
Enjoy the effects of this full, back-body opener!