Peace Comes First

Your guide to creating inner peace through yoga therapy, practical spirituality and the gluten-free lifestyle.

Healing Benefits of Downward Dog


Downward Dog3

Photo credit: Marilyn D’Onofio

There’s a reason why dogs favor this stretch every time they wake from a nap. It stretches the whole body and can feel really refreshing. I used to dread this pose because at first it didn’t feel good. It felt awkward and strained. But the more I practiced and learned better posture, the more I grew to enjoy it.

Alignment Tips:

Keep your legs separated hip distance apart. Imagine lifting the tailbone up just like a dog does, and pushing the floor away with fingers spread. Allow the shoulders to relax away from the ears. Keep the heels up if your hamstrings are tight. You can also use a block to support your head.

Therapeutic benefits:

  • Calming and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Energizes the body, relieving fatigue
  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
  • Strengthens the arms and legs
  • Osteoporosis prevention
  • Helpful for digestion
  • May relieve headache, insomnia and back pain
  • Helpful for high blood pressure, asthma, sciatica, allergies and sinusitis

Safe Practice:

If you have high blood pressure or menstrual discomfort, try supporting your head on a bolster, stack of blankets or yoga block, ears between the arms. Avoid if you have wrist pain or injury or diarrhea.


5 thoughts on “Healing Benefits of Downward Dog

  1. Hullo! I’m just restarting my regular yoga home practice, beginning by just tackling Salutation to the Sun. I need baby steps!

    This pose is a rewarding one, but I’m still in a place where it feels uncomfortable. It feels GREAT when I’m finished, though, and I know the more I practice, the more comfortable the pose will become. I find if I focus on lifting the tailbone, and dropping the shoulders, I get the most out of it.

    Looking forward to exploring your blog a little bit more.

    Zee xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Baby steps are good! I do the same when I’ve had breaks in my practice. Puppy Pose is a nice moderation of DownDog, to practice the upper body stretch and give your hamstrings a break if they’re tight. Thanks for visiting! Feel free to share your questions and I’ll do my best to answer. I’ll be posting regularly, enjoy. Below is a link to a Puppy Pose video xo

      Video for Puppy Pose


      • Oh – thank you! I shall take you up on the offer of answered questions lol. I have lower back pain that’s been at me since the start of last year (when I stopped classroom teaching, and spent a LOT more time sitting down than I had in the past).

        Obviously, the main solution is to get up and move more, which I’m doing in baby steps, but could you recommend any poses that are specific to the lower back? I’ve found the standing forward bend, and twists are helpful, but any other advice would be much appreciated x


  2. Great question, and I feel your pain! Long periods sitting is the lower back’s nemesis. Good news is yoga to the rescue, it can help loads! I’ll share a new post and/or video for support. Check back soon! 🙂


  3. Hi Zee, I gave you more recommendations for your lower back in this post: Hope it helps, and thanks for your question! Feel free to ask more.


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