What Are The Health Benefits of Downward Dog?

Downward facing dog
Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

Practicing yoga is a wonderful way to care for your body as well as your mind. Among the different yoga postures (asanas), one of the most popular and well-known ones is the Adho Mukha or Downward-facing Dog pose, normally shortened to just “Downward Dog.” The posture received its name from its striking similarity to a dog’s stretch.

Downward Dog belongs to the category of inversion asanas, and we often (but not always!) see it practiced as part of a longer, set sequence of postures. Like all yoga poses, it has some valuable health benefits.

Done on all fours, Downward Dog is a great way to activate the entire body. It strengthens the upper body by putting weight on the arms and the shoulders, and the lower body by giving a decent stretch to the hamstring and calf muscles. Thanks to the inversion part of it, it’s also a great way to get your blood flowing.

Although not scientifically proven, some yoga gurus claim the Downward Dog pose to be a good way to battle fatigue, which can be a great added bonus.

When it comes to mental health, there’s no doubt that Downward Dog, like many other yoga postures, is great at getting us to relax. The increased focus on the body and the breath has a soothing, grounding effect that is no less important than the physical health benefits.