Yoga Poses

Yoga Pose Of The Day: Downward-Facing Dog

English Name: Downward-Facing Dog

Sanskrit Name: Adho Mukha Svanasana

Yoga Level: 1

Benefits: Downward-Facing dog has many benefits, it’s a great pose to energize the body, calm the brain and relieve stress and mild depression. It can improve digestion, help prevent osteoporosis, stretch the shoulders, calves, hamstrings, arches and hands. It can also help relieve symptoms of menopause, it can also relieve menstrual discomfort when the head is supported. Downward-Facing dog can also relieve headaches, insomnia, back pain, fatigue, it is therapeutic for asthmatics and can help people with high blood pressure, flat feet, sciatica and sinusitis.

How to do it: Sit on your mat on your hands and knees. Make sure your knees are directly below your hips and your hands are slightly in front of your shoulders. Spread your palms wide, index fingers parallel or slightly turned out, and turn your toes under.

Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first keep the knees slightly bent, if this is enough for you then stop there. Downward-Facing Dog is a beginner’s pose but can be difficult for those with stiff legs. If you are ready to improve on the pose then lift the heels away from your mat. Lengthen your tail bone away from the back of your pelvis. Lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, and from your inner ankles draw the inner legs up into the groins.

Once you have achieved this, exhale. Push the top of the thighs back and stretch your heels onto or down toward the floor. Straighten your knees but be sure not to lock them, keep a slight bend or you will overstretch the muscles in the legs. Keep the head between the upper arms; don’t let it hang.

Adho Mukha Svanasana/Downward-Facing Dog is one of the poses in the traditional Sun Salutation sequence. It’s also an excellent yoga asana all on its own. Stay in this pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes. Then bend your knees to the floor with an exhalation and rest in Child’s Pose (see previous yoga of the day pose).

Yoga Vocabulary: Sun Salutation Sequence – A dynamic asana sequence, also known as Surya Namaskar means to bow to or to adore. Each sun salutation begins and ends with joined hands (Mudra) touched to the heart. The placement means that only the heart can know the truth. 

Yoga Poses

Yoga Pose Of The Day: Boat Pose

English Name: Boat Pose

Sanskrit Name: Paripurna Navasana

Yoga Level: 1

Benefits: Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors and spine,
stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands and intenstines,
helps relieve stress and improves digestion.

How to do it: Start by sitting on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Place your hands on the floor behind your hips, fingers pointing toward the feet, make sure you have nice strong arms. Don’t curve your back, keep it nice and straight. Exhale deeply and bend your knees. Lift them up, make sure that your thighs are at a 45 degree angle from the floor, lengthen your tailbone. If you can, slowly straighten your knees. Raise the tips of our toes slightly above the level of your eyes.

Do what feels comfortable for you. If you can only do it with your knees bent then that’s perfectly fine. Next, stretch your arms out, parallel to your legs. Spread your shoulder blades across your back and reach out through your fingers. If you find this difficult then keep your hands on the floor beside your hips and hold onto the back of your thighs. Try to keep the lower belly relatively flat. Breathe easy.

Press the heads of the thigh bones toward the floor to help anchor the pose and lift the top of the sternum. There you have it. Boat pose. Stay in the pose for about ten to twenty seconds. Gradually increase the time that you stay in the pose and you will get stronger and better at it in time. When you are ready to leave the pose,  release your legs with an exhalation and inhale as you sit upright.