4 Exercises to Help Your Downward Facing Dog Pose

Even though downward facing dog is a fabulous pose, it can be difficult for a lot of people, especially in the wrists and the shoulders. These 4 preparatory actions will get everything ready and ensure that one comes into the pose with respect to where they are in their bodies. Watch Neesha demonstrate how to warm up and get the proper actions to have the best possible experience in the pose!

What You Can Expect With These Preparatory Exercises

With these exercises, we get the wrists to move in a flexed position. This is not a common movement when compared to everyday motions. We also bring awareness to the placement of the hands. This is key to supporting the pose, even for a few breaths! We also warm up the forearms, so that the wrists get stronger to support a lot of the weight of your body.

We do a few poses with the arms extended overhead, which might be challenging if the shoulders and chest are tight. In the video, we ease into a little bit of leg work. This trains the pelvis to rotate over the top of the leg bones (a fancy way of saying elongating your hamstrings). Getting the legs to work better takes a lot of the weight off of your shoulders and hands so that you can work up to holding the pose longer, in comfort, receiving all the benefits!

The Benefits of Downward Facing Dog

  1.  It is a full-body pose

This is a great reason to add this shape into your daily or weekly routine. When done properly (or close to it!) downward facing dog pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit) builds strength in your arms, wrists, shoulders, back, tummy, and legs. You also get the added bonus of stretch to your shoulders, back, and legs. The stretching of the legs usually occurs in the backs of the hamstrings and calves.


  1. Weight bearing is good for your bones

We need to keep doing things to support bone density, especially as we age. When done with proper preparation and alignment, it is a preventative pose. It is not recommended to jump right into downward facing dog if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis.

Downward facing dog is great for bone density and more!

  1. Brings you into the present moment

Mindfulness is all the rage lately! It is good for the brain and your overall ability to bounce back from stress. Much joy and satisfaction can be found in the simple here and now. The physicality of yoga really helps accomplishes this. Because there is a lot to pay attention to in the body, it can make it easier to be in the present moment.


  1. Head below heart mixes things up

Downward facing dog is an inversion pose. Getting your head below your heart changes your body out of its’ normal orientation. A circulation blast to your brain and looking at the world upside down is sure to open up new doorways. Clearer thinking, refreshed perspective and larger views of possibilities are all benefits of bringing your head below your heart in an active way.

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