Downward facing dog otherwise known, as Adho Mukha Svanasana is one of the most popular yoga poses for children. In fact, it is one of the most natural poses for babies, especially when they are just starting to sit up, stand up and start walking.
Practicing this pose regularly brings with it a number of benefits for adults and children including:
Energising and rejuvenating the body - B.S.K. Iyengar, the 94-year-old founder of Iyengar yoga, says that Downward Dog is one of the best poses you can do when you’re fatigued. He recommends at least a minute in the pose. Its great for children after a long day at school, runners to bring back lost energy after a hard race and for those who are tired from a long day at the office.
Lengthening the spine, strengthening the muscles of the chest and increasing lung capacity. It’s great for people suffering from stiffness, shoulder pain and back pain. With proper alignment it can make your upper back more flexible and less likely to store so much tension.
Strengthening the body especially the arms, shoulders, legs, feet and toning the muscles. Postures like Downward Dog (as well as more difficult arm balances) that place weight on the arms and shoulders are great for building upper body strength and preserving bone density, especially important for women as we age and become more at risk for osteoporosis.
Increasing circulation to the brain. Any pose where the heart is above the head is a good one for the circulatory system, because it encourages blood flow throughout the body. An active circulatory system helps flush toxins from our body, keep our immune system in tip-top shape, and helps regulate blood pressure.
Calming the mind and helping to relive headache, insomnia and fatigue. As it in an inverted pose, it allows greater blood flow to the brain thus relieving tension and releasing pressure in the brain.
Here’s how it’s done:
Start out on all fours. Spread your fingers and press your palms flat onto the floor. Lift your buttocks, straighten your legs, and make an upside-down V shape. Press your heels gently to the ground, push your bottom up and back. Relax your head and neck and look down between your legs. Hold for 1 minute. Inhale deeply and bend your one knee on the mat followed by the other, drop your bottom on your heels and relax your head down. Relax for 30 seconds and come up gently.
Warning: Please avoid doing this asana if you suffer from high blood pressure, Carpel tunnel syndrome, detached eye retina, weak eye capillaries, dislocated shoulder / shoulder injury or diarrhoea.