Downward-facing dog

Downward-facing dog, down dog, downward dog, adho muka svanasana – whatever you know it as –  is an integral pose of yoga.    Aligning yourself properly in this pose will reduce unnecessary strain, fatigue, and injury.  Also, understanding the benefits of down dog helps us understand why we are doing it in the first place!

First, here are some tips to help make sure you are in the pose correctly:

  • Start from plank pose with hands shoulder-distance apart making sure that your elbows are stacked directly over your wrists and your shoulders directly over your elbows.  Spread your fingers wide like you are digging in sand.  Press them into the ground paying particular attention to the forefinger and thumb.  Feet should be hip-distance apart.
  • From here lift your hips up as you move into the downward-dog position.  Try not to adjust your hands or your feet positions when you do this.  Continue to push your hands down into the ground.  Reach your heels down to the ground.  They do not actually have to touch the ground; the reaching is the important part.  If your heels do touch the ground then great!
  • Draw energy up through your arms, relax your shoulder blades towards each other, and reach your sits bones up and back.  Lift your navel in towards your back.  Let your head hang heavy and breathe.

Second, here are some benefits from down dog:

  • Helps build bone density because it is a weight baring exercise.
  • Helps wake you up and reduce fatigue.  Try the pose for at least one minute after a long day at the office.
  • It’s good for relieving upper back pain, neck pain, and for easing tension in this area.  It is also good for stress relief as the spine gets lengthened and decompressed.
  • It’s good for increasing blood circulation as the heart gets elevated above the head.  Active blood circulation aids in flushing toxins from our system, and regulating blood pressure.
  • Finally it’s good for enhancing digestion as the spleen, kidneys, and liver get compressed.  Also a good core strengthener.

There you have it.  Some tips on getting into Downward dog properly and what this pose does for our bodies as we practice it.

To your health.

Disclaimer:  All articles written on Microyogi are opinions and not meant to serve as any kind of instruction for how to move your body.  I am merely writing to serve as a means of trying to find my own answers.  I am not a certified trainer or medical expert.

Today is my birthday…time to reflect…

I tend to reflect on my life at every birthday.  Where am I?  How am I doing? How far have I come in the last 10 years?  In the last year?

Yes there are areas that I want to address but I don’t know how to yet.  10 years ago this would have driven me crazy with anxiety.  These days I take the approach that one day I’ll just know what to do and in the meanwhile don’t worry about it.  That doesn’t mean I’m in denial; it just means I’m fine with not knowing the answer right now. To me this is awesome!  Anxiety about the future is a true burden.

Since discovering yoga and meeting a few yoga friends,  I feel I have had massive self-growth over the past year compared with many other years.  Yoga people are just happy, positive, and fun people.  Their happiness is genuine and contagious.  Meeting these people made me realize just how negative the people in my life were and that I needed to change who I was surrounding myself with.  Their influence had been dragging me down!  That is not always so easy though…  So realizing this I need to figure a way to repel the negative that some people just seem to spew.  Any advice on how to do this is indeed welcome!

I have become a lot less anxious, much more positive, and do not have neck and upper back tension pain any longer.  I used to experience awful tension pains and would have massage therapy every two weeks which barely helped but seemed like the only thing I could think of to do.  To be rid of that pain is such a relief.  It does indeed seem quite miraculous.

So as I turn 42 I am no longer concerned with the fact that I am not married and have no kids.  I am no longer concerned with being perceived by others as a “loner”, as “definitely an introvert”, or as “too sensitive”.  These are my traits and make me who I am and instead of trying to be someone else I am just going to be me and enjoy it.  I mean things could be worse right?  And who decided that these kinds of traits are not that great anyway?  Deciding I am fine as I am, (in fact great!) has brought me a lot of peace and further lowered my level of anxiety.

So here’s to another great year coming to a close and a new one about to start!