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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 February 21, 2019

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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