Posted by terrepruitt on June 6, 2009
Even though the Adho Mukha Svanasana or in more familiar language, Downward-Facing Dog is often used as a resting pose or a transitional pose, you are working a lot of your body. It is a great pose for working your legs, back, shoulders and arms. More specifically your gastrocnemius (calves), hamstrings, retucs femoris (front of leg), gluteus maximus, latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior (muscles by the ribs), deltoids, and triceps.
As with a lot of yoga asanas the “working” is either a lengthening and stretching or a strengthening or both. This asana also helps strengthen the hands.
Recently I took a yoga class in Los Gatos and I am looking forward to going back because I realized something, I don’t like this pose that much. But what I have come to accept in my exercise workouts and Nia practice, is that if I don’t like something it is usually because I am not doing it correctly or it is something in which I need to improve. So the reason I am looking forward to my next class is because I hope to ask the instructor for a body check. If not in my next class I will ask the instructor in Willow Glen. I want an instructor to assist me in making sure I am doing it correctly. Then once I feel the correct way to do it, I will work on it.
So, as you can see I am taking this Down Dog thing seriously. Just because it is thrown in as a way to get to the next move and sometimes treated like a rest, I still want to use it to help strengthen my back, shoulders, and arms. I want to work at it to make sure I am getting the full benefit of the lengthening of my legs and arms, and the stretching of back. Do you work your Downward-Facing Dog or just let it lie?