Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

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Posts Tagged ‘push exercise’

More On Downward Facing Dog

Posted by terrepruitt on July 1, 2014

I once briefly wrote about the Downward Facing Dog yoga pose in my post Down Dog. This is considered a resting pose. For many; those starting out or those wanting a gentle type of workout, it is not extremely restful. There are many muscles that are being used so it is a very active pose. This pose could be qualified as a “push exercise” or using the muscles that are used for pushing. Muscles on the back of the body are considered the “push muscles”. There are many benefits to this pose.

The lower body gets the biggest stretch. If you are able to straighten your legs and place your heels on the ground the back of your legs get the stretch. The hamstrings get a good stretch along with the calves. If your heels are up there is still a nice stretch going on. With many people working in office chairs and having the posture of bent legs, tight hamstrings is a very common situation. So having heels up and bent knees is a widely used modification.

No matter how your legs are (straight or bent) your arms are holding you up. This pose does require your arms to do some work. It is considered an arm supported pose. In conjunction with latissimus dorsi, the muscles by the ribs, and your deltoids the triceps are working. So for some their arms might feel fatigued. So even though this pose is allowing for a very big stretch in the back of the legs there are muscles working on the top half of the body.

Even though the focus is in pressing the tailbone to the sky we don’t ignore the front. The front of the legs get a bit of attention, as we are lifting the knee caps.  We also have a sense of our spine lengthening.

In addition to increasing flexibility in your legs, hips, and ankles. And strengthening arms and wrist, this pose relieves depression and helps calm the mind. Additional benefits include:
-Energizing the body
-Increasing circulation
-Improving digestion
-Relieving headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
And it can be therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis

I have learned to like this pose a bit more. I was reminded of what I tell my students and what we practice in Nia. Find the Joy in the movement, if you cannot tweak it until you do. I believe a portion of my dislike of this pose back when I first wrote about it, was that I was forcing it.  I was doing it in away that did not feel good for my back. Once I stopped the complete loose action of my spine, the pose became more comfortable. As it became easier there was room to move into the pose better and relax into it.

So, like many things it is good to do it at your level. As you improve it can be done better. The benefits can be received throughout the practice. It is a practice.

How is your Downward Facing Dog?

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