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This Is What Happens When You Do Downward Dog Every Day

This Is What Happens When You Do Downward Dog Every Day

Adho Mukha Svanasana, more commonly known as Downward Dog, is one of the most widely practiced yoga poses on the planet. You could probably even call it the poster child of yoga poses.

In almost every style of yoga, you’ll find yogis doing the old Downward Dog. It’s routinely practiced in Iyengar, Bikram, Vinyasa, and Ashtanga yoga styles.

At first glance, Downward Dog doesn’t look like an overly difficult pose. However, if you’ve been practicing for awhile, then you know it requires strength, flexibility, and stamina to perform correctly.

Downward Dog is one of the few yoga poses that strengthens and stretches almost every muscle in the body. At the same time, it provides the benefits of other poses, like inversions and backbends.

So what will happen if you practice Downward Dog every day?

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You’ll Work All the Muscles of Your Upper Body

We tend to hunch over at our desks, computers, and mobile phones throughout the day, which causes tension and tightness in our chest and upper backs. There’s even a word for it now – computer hunch.

Downward Dog is a great pose to stretch those muscles and relieve that tension. By stabilizing your upper body in Downward Dog, you engage and strengthen the muscles of the arms, chest, back, and shoulder area.

You’ll Stretch & Strengthen Your Legs

Walking, standing, and sitting all day causes the glutes, hips, hamstrings, and calves to get tight.

Downward Dog will help stretch and release these large muscle groups. It stretches and opens up the backs of your legs from the glutes, along the hamstrings, and down to the calves.

Simultaneously, you’ll flex and strengthen the front of your legs, including your hips, quadriceps, and ankles.

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You’ll Strengthen Your Core

Downward Dog is essentially an inverted Boat Pose. If you’re familiar with Boat Pose, then you know it’s one of the very best poses for strengthening and toning your entire abdominal area.

The act of engaging your abdominal muscles and pulling your navel into your spine also works the digestive organs and helps improve your body’s ability to properly digest food.

You’ll Tone Your Hands & Feet

Since Downward Dog is a weight-bearing pose, it will work your hands and feet, as well as prepare you for standing poses and arm balances.

Grounding down through the hands, and spreading your fingers wide, work your fingers, hands, and wrists. As you press your heels down, the pose also strengthens and stretches the Achilles tendons, arches, feet, and toes.

You’ll Strengthen Your Bones & Joints

Downward Dog helps strengthen your bones and improves your bone density, which is key for preventing osteoporosis.

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It’s especially great for strengthening your wrist and ankle joints. If you work at a computer all day, you know how tight and overworked your wrists can get.

While in the pose, the angle of the wrists and ankles is only about 45 degrees, which helps protect from overstretching.

You’ll Boost Circulation

Downward Dog is actually an inversion, since your head is lower than your heart. Just like with a headstand, it improves the flow of blood throughout the body and gets blood flowing to the brain.

The improved blood circulation helps flush toxins, boosts immunity, and regulates blood pressure.

You’ll Release Tension & Melt Stress

The act of stretching and elongating the cervical spine and neck helps to relieve tension along your spine. Allowing your head to relax will help ease your tension and stress.

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The flow of blood to the brain calms the nervous system, improves memory and concentration, as well as relieving stress. It also provides relief from headaches, insomnia, fatigue, and mild depression.

You’ll Bring Awareness to Your Breathing

Downward Dog is typically used for pauses while doing sun salutations or vinyasa flows. During the pause, you can really focus in on your breath.

At the end of the day, yoga is all about your breath. If you’re not fully breathing throughout your poses, then you’re not practicing yoga. Downward Dog will help you come back to your breath.

Final Thoughts

Downward Dog is one of the most versatile yoga poses you can do. It’s not only a relaxing pose, but also a naturally energizing pose. According to legendary yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar:

“A mere minute in this pose will bring back lost energy for runners after a hard race.”

Iyengar also famously called Headstand the “king of yoga poses.” However, if I could do only one yoga pose, it would be Downward Dog. It provides the benefits of an inversion like Headstand while simultaneously stretching and strengthening almost every muscle in the body.

Whether you have a favorite yoga class that you go to regularly, or you prefer home practice, you’ll find great benefits from practicing Downward Dog each and every day.

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This Is What Happens When You Do Downward Dog Every Day

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

More About Living a Fulfilling Life

Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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