37/100 ~ Downward Facing Dog – Here’s a pose that most people recognize and know by name. It’s one of my favorite poses, and it took me a few years to get to that point. In the beginning, I experienced wrist pain and would always be in a hurry to come out of the pose. As I gained strength in my wrists – plus strength and flexibility in my body – downward dog became a favorite pose over time.

Benefits: This pose stretches and strengthens practically the entire body! Creates flexibility in the spine and builds stamina. It’s an inversion pose, so it’s calming to the nervous system, relieves headaches, anxiety and insomnia.

How to: Align yourself well before pressing up into this pose. Come to your hands and knees; place your hands as described in yesterday’s post (Wrists – Day 36). Have your hands wide on your mat, index fingers point forward. Space your knees about 8” apart, and look to see that your feet are directly behind your knees on the mat.

Tuck your toes – curl them like you’re coming onto tiptoes. Press into your hands and push the front of the mat away from you as you begin to lift your knees off the mat and tailbone toward the ceiling. Gently straighten the knees (or leave them bent at first!) and press your heels toward the mat. Draw the shoulder blades wide and toward your back pockets; tops of the shoulders come away from the ears. The gaze is toward your belly button. Hold this pose for 2-5 breaths, then lower yourself and rest in Child’s Pose (Day 16).

Mantra: “Home is where the dog is.”

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