Updated: Oct 22, 2019
I am a yoga teacher, but also a yoga learner. I continue to try, try, try again with familiar and unfamiliar yoga poses. However, my ol' faithful is this: Downward Facing Dog. It is the one I do first in the morning to open up my body, and the last pose I do before bed.
If you have a few creaks in your joints as I do, this is a gem of a yoga pose!
More reasons and details for unofficially voting this pose among a yogi's best:
It is a full-body stretch: opening the hamstrings, back (especially the latissimus dorsi), lengthening the spine, elongating the calf muscles, and even getting into the hips and shoulders if you go deep enough. Place your hands and feet about hip-width apart. You want to try to form a V with your entire body.
It helps me to focus on my breath since the diaphragm is lifted and open (versus compressed). Try to straighten your legs and arms, placing your head in between your shoulders. Hips & sacral plate (base of the spine) should be your high point.
If you have tight lower legs muscles (calves, soleus, Achilles tendon) this pose will be your friend. Subtle, it is not, especially when trying to place your heels down flat onto the floor. If you cannot do this- give yourself time and practice the pose daily. Those heels will inch their way down pose by pose, breath by breath.
Though it's considered an inversion pose, it is a mild one. Dropping the head below the heart will increase blood flow and grant an awakening effect. * Be careful upon rising out of the pose- you may be light-headed.
The final reason, it is now a comfortable pose to me. I often say an affirmation or prayer when I begin my routine with this pose. I have suggested this book before in my former Books & Brews blog, but if you missed it... Stretching Your Faith, by Michelle Thielen is a fantastic faith-based book on yoga, and breaking down poses and prayers, so beautifully! https://www.amazon.com/Stretching-Your-Faith-Practicing-Postures/dp/1940984947/
If you'd like a printable guide for doing Downard Facing Dog, go to: https://www.etsy.com/listing/578179082/downward-facing-dog-yoga-png-instant
What is your go-to, ol' faithful of a yoga pose? Would love to hear from you!