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Weekly stretch: Down Facing Dog

Posted Nov 19 2009 2:25pm

Downward facing dog is one of my faaavorite yoga poses because it’s a great stretch and strengthening exercise for the whole body, plus it’s relaxing.

Here’s the original down facing dog:

Down Facing Dog
Photo credit: Ashlynn

What a cutie. To do the yoga version of this pose, get on your hands and knees, and push off the ground. Straighten your knees and keep your feet shoulder width apart. Curl your neck to face your stomach. And then straighten your back and arms. You should be in a giant v shape over the ground with your tail unceremoniously pointing to the sky. If you’re unfamiliar with the stretch, check out the image and write up at Yoga Journal .

Many instructors of yoga will teach that it’s important to have a proper pose for many exercises, in order to get the most out of the stretch and make sure you’re not hurting yourself in the process. However, an interesting article I once read, about the origins of yoga in India, talked about how people there practice at home instead of in classes, and focus on their own enjoyment of the stretch rather than trying to make it a perfect pose. It’s an interesting debate and I think there are merits to both approaches.

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