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Downward Facing Dog | 5 variations that target different areas of your body

Hey everyone,

Downward Facing Dog is one of my favourite postures and I thought I would share with you some of the variations I love and teach. It wasn't always a favourite pose; my wrists would ache and my arms would be shaking within 10 seconds due to not having much upper body strength.

Modifying Downward Facing Dog to suit your body and needs means you can gain more from the pose as your targeting the areas of your body that need attention. I hope you find a variation in this video that you can implement into your Yoga practice or part of your warm up/cool down at the gym and enjoy.

First of all, what's so good about Downward Facing Dog?

  • Energizes the body

  • Calms the mind

  • Helps to release stress

  • Improves digestion

  • Strengthens the upper and lower body

  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves and ankles

  • Lengthens the spine

  • Therapeutic for: flat feet, plantar fasciitis, back ache and sciatica

Not much then...

These 5 variations focus on different areas of your body and can be a good supplement to what you are practicing already.

1. Walk the dog.

  • Releases tight calves.

  • Stabilizes and strengthen ankles.

  • Slowly stretches the hamstrings.

2. Heel lifts.

  • Stretches planter fascia.

  • Stabilizes and strengthen ankles.

  • Helps to avoid dumping weight into the heels which can round your back.

3. Shoulder mobilizers.

  • Great for mobilizing the upper body: shoulders and upper back muscles.

4. DFD presses.

  • Builds upper body strength.

  • Improves other presses, e.g. Chaturanga, Crow pose, Plank pose.

5. Hand to foot.

  • Builds upper body strength.

  • Works on balance.

  • Can help improve the spines range of movement.

  • Strengthens abdominal muscles.

Is Downward Facing Dog bad for us?

Not all Yoga postures are good for us. The same with foods; what is nourishing for one person, can be an allergy to another. Those with certain injuries or conditions such as: migraines, headaches, sinitis, carpel tunnel, low or high blood pressure, scoliosis, pregnancy, menopause, leg injuries, shoulder injuries, reflux, heartburn, high or low blood pressure, may need to avoid this pose or will have to chat with their Yoga teacher for specific guidance on how to modify the pose to suit their needs.

Downward Facing Dog during pregnancy

I filmed this little video whilst I was 18 weeks pregnant and Downward Facing Dog still feels good all over (I'm now 20 weeks). Last pregnancy, I felt good doing DFD till birth so I hope it continues to suit my body this time round. The only thing I've had to modify with this pose is I'm not holding it for as long as I usually would, I'm having to come out or transition to another pose a lot more carefully now as I can certainly feel my blood pressure has changed. This pose feels really good for my PGP, I feel like it stabilizes my back and my legs gets a good stretch, everything this pregnant mama needs.

DO speak with your GP, midwife and Yoga teacher if you are unsure or new to Yoga as it doesn't suit every woman during pregnancy.

Remember to practice Yoga with patience and ease.

Let me know if you have a favourite downward facing dog variation.

N x


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