Rare is the yoga class that doesn’t include at least one Downward Facing Dog pose (Adho Mukha Savasana). That may be because the benefits of the pose could fill this entire page. Downward Dog strengthens the arms and legs while stretching the hamstrings and calves, the arches of the feet and the hands. It calms the brain while relieving stress and mild depression. It can also help prevent osteoporosis and reduce symptoms of menopause while it leaves your body feeling energized.
Start on your hands and knees. Align your hips right above your knees and place your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide, with the longest finger straight forward. Turn your toes under and draw your low belly towards your spine. Lift the knees a few inches off of the mat and keep them bent as you exhale and reach your hips back behind you.
Keep your spine long as you press your thighs back and your heels towards the floor. If you find your back has rounded or you’ve shifted forward onto your hands, then keep the knees bent. Attempt to stretch the mat longer in front of you with your hands by pressing through the mounds of the index fingers and mounds of the thumbs. Relax the head and neck so the ears are between your arms and you are looking back towards your feet. Feel your shoulder blades broad and wide on the back. Use the pit of the abdomen to continue drawing the hips behind you and bring as much weight into your feet as you have in your hands. Stay for several breaths, gradually working up to 1-3 minutes. Come out of it by releasing the knees back down to the floor and resting there.