Peace Comes First

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


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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.