Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Down Dog

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?

4 Responses to “Down Dog”

  1. judy said

    I absolutely work my down dog! (That sounds so funny.) Actually, by about the tenth time I’ve done it in a session, I can feel it working my upper body, and if I focus on pushing my heels to the floor, I get a serious stretch through my calves and sciatic area. (You just knew I couldn’t resist commenting on yoga, huh? Or dogs for that matter!)


    • Yes, it does sound funny. That is why I liked writing it. Makes me laugh. I am glad you work on your Down Dog. I was thinking most people would and do, but some of the stuff I was looking at online had me thinking that it was not given the respect it deserved. That could not be the case, but . . . it just occurred to me, so I blogged it.

      I was thinking about you as I was writing it. I was hoping it would rope you in. But you are always so kind and commentso I was thinking it would just be a post that you would really want to comment on.

      I was wishing I had a picture of a dog doing the Downward-Facing Dog. Because they DO do that!


      • judy said

        Yes they do! Lexi seriously works her downward dog! (I’ll try to get a picture. We’ll put it in caption this!)


        • If you get one I will “steal” it and put it on my Down Dog blog and link it to your caption this.

          Cats do it too, but it is not as funny to have a cat doing a Downward-Facing Dog. Hmmmm? Then again, maybe it is.


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