Posture Correction Exercise 3 – Down Dog
Posture correction is about strength, mobility and flexibility. In order to learn to hold correct posture, we must work on all of these things.
Exercise 1, the Baby Cobra, was primarily to develop strength along the back line of the body.
Exercise 2, the Bridge, was primarily to develop the strength of the butt muscles and core.
Exercise 3, Downward Facing Dog, helps
- Develop flexibility and mobility in the shoulders
- Stretch the entire back line of the body, from shoulders to heels
- Strengthen the arms and shoulders
- Decompress the spine
Exercise 3 – Downward Facing Dog
- Lie face down, palms below your shoulders
- Do a push up to raise yourself into plank
- Hinge at the hips and shoulders until your thighs are 90° to you hips, and your biceps are beside your ears.
- Gently lower your heels to the floor, if you can (I can’t), to stretch the calves and hamstrings
- Press forward through the shoulder girdle to stretch the shoulders
- Pull back with the legs/hips to give a gentle traction to the spine, to help decompress your discs
Doing this offers a stretch for the entire back line, from shoulders to heels. Depending upon your anatomy, the stretch can vary all the way from mild to very deep. For me, if I were to do this I would get a very deep stretch of my hamstrings and calves, along with a very deep stretch for my shoulders. If Down Dog is too intense (in any way), you can make this modification:
Exercise 3a – Squatted Downward Facing Dog
- Do exactly as above, but with a deep (90°) bend in the knees.
For instance, if you have deep hip sockets and/or tight hamstrings this will give you the benefits of the posture (stretching the shoulders and decompressing the spine), without causing flexion of the lumbar spine.
To get the stretch into your hamstrings and calves, without flexing your lumbar, reduce the bend in your knees. As you straighten out your legs, you will begin to stretch their back lines, and you are in control of the level of stretch, and the flexion of your lumbar spine.