Downward-Facing Dog with Hamstring Stretch

Definition - What does Downward-Facing Dog with Hamstring Stretch mean?

Downward-facing dog with hamstring stretch is a beginner-friendly variation of downward-facing dog. Downward-facing dog is one of the best yoga poses and one of first postures beginners learn; however, yogis with less flexibility can start with a bent knees version and add the hamstring stretch.

To enter the pose, begin in with the hands and knees on the mat, aligning the wrists under the shoulders and knees under the hips. Then straighten the elbows and tuck the toes to lift the knees off the ground. Gently straighten the legs while reaching the sit bones up and back. Draw the lower abdomen in and up to support the spine. Keep the gaze between the feet or toward the belly. To practice the hamstring stretch variation, straighten one leg at a time and press the heels into the ground, alternating heels as if walking. Breathe evenly for a cycle of 10 breaths then bring the knees to the ground to come out of the pose.

Yogapedia explains Downward-Facing Dog with Hamstring Stretch

Downward-facing dog with bent knees strengthens and tones the shoulders, arms and legs while lengthening the spine. The asana also reduces stress, calms the mind, and energizes the entire body. As an inversion, it gets blood flowing in the opposite direction by reversing the action of gravity, and nourishing the brain and upper body. It is also thought to provide a different perceptive on an emotional level, boosting confidence.

Additional benefits of downward-facing dog with hamstring stretch include:

  • Opens the hips and shoulders
  • Engages the core
  • Strengthens the skeletal system
  • Increases flexibility in the back of the body and arms
  • Strengthens the wrists, arms and shoulders
  • Relieve stress, insomnia and headaches
  • Increases blood flow to the brain

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