ESSENTIAL YOGA POSTURES PART I
Good morning dear Yogis – let’s try something new today! We are excited to launch a new series of posts in which we are going to present some of the most commonly practiced YOGA ASANAS!The aim of this series is to provide you with a short overview over the posture, including its English and Sanskrit name (we know, the struggle with names is real!;) ), meaning, benefits for body and mind as well as applications of the position in the modern yoga practice.
If you have any further question concerning this or any other asana, let us know in the comments below and we will be happy to get back to you!
Today, we are starting the series with probably the most well-know and iconic yoga posture of them all:
DOWNWARD FACING DOG
Sanskrit: Adho mukha śvānāsana / अधोमुखश्वानासन
Meaning: The name originates from the Sanskrit words adhas, meaning ‘down’, mukha, meaning ‘face’, śvānam, meaning ‘dog’ and āsana, meaning ‘posture’.
Primary muscles strengthened and stretched: M. Trapezius, M.Latissimus Dorsi, M. Triceps, M. Gluteus Maximus, M. Semimembranosus, M. Semitendinosus and M. Biceps Femoris.
Benefits: While downward facing dog often only serves as a transitional position in Vinyasa flows, it deserves to be practiced mindfully and with longer holds as it offers your body and mind some unique benefits:
1. Stretches the back of the legs, aka. the HAMSTRINGS without compressing your spine as other hamstring stretching positions do (seated forward fold). It is therefore especially beneficial for runners, athletes and people with tight hamstrings.
2. Releases the back and elongates the spine, which is something we all should try to get more of! Most of us spend the majority of the time in a seated position which causes a lot of pressure to build up on specific areas in your spine. Try holding downdog for a couple of cycles of breath when you get home from the office and feel the release this posture brings to your lower back especially.
3. According to B.K.S Iyengar, this position helps to rejuvenate the body, to aid digestion and to bring awareness to the breath, thus calming and refreshing the mind and spirit.
MILA and Roland Fischer wish you a HAPPY DOWNDOG PRACTICE !
Photo Credits: Namasté Photography