Downward-facing dog has numerous health benefits. For one, the pose calms your brain and relieves stress.
When done correctly, the pose also stretches your shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches and hands.
Some other health benefits of down dog might surprise you. These include the relief of menopause and menstrual pain, helping prevent osteoporosis, improving digestion, relieving headache, insomnia and fatigue as well as high blood pressure, flat feet, sciatica and sinusitis.
Three-legged downward dog
Three-legged downward dog, while similar to downward dog, has other health benefits.
Typically, three-legged downward dog is taken during downward-dog. Don’t forget to switch legs, and do both sides.
Benefits of three-legged downward dog include strength and balance building, energizing the nervous system and relief from stress, headaches, fatigue and poor digestion.
Bridge pose is a classic glute strengthening exercise. The pose also strengthens your chest, neck and spine while calming your brain and relieving stress.
If held long enough, the pose can be quite difficult, but its additional health benefits are worth the hard work. These include relief for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, headache, backache, insomnia and anxiety. The exercise is also a great way to improve digestion and stimulate your abdominal organs, lungs and thyroid.
While boat pose is a great exercise to help strengthen your core muscles, it also stimulates your kidneys, thyroid, intestines and prostate. Additionally, the pose relieves stress, improves digestion and strengthens hip flexors and your spine.
Standing forward fold
Like downward-facing dog and three-legged dog, standing forward fold is an inversion pose, meaning your heart is in a space higher than that of your head.
According to Yoga Journal’s ‘Do You Have a Royal Fear of Inversions?‘ by Aadil Palkhivala, “Inversions set yoga apart from other physical disciplines: Psychologically, they allow us to see things from an alternate perspective. Emotionally, they guide the energy of the pelvis (the energy of creation and personal power) toward the heart center, enabling self-exploration and inner growth.”
Benefits of standing forward fold specifically include stretching hamstrings, calves and hips, strengthening thighs and knees, improving digestion, stimulating the kidney and liver, relief of menopause pain and therapy for asthma, high blood pressure, infertility, sinusitis and osteoporosis.
Cat and cow
Cat and cow pose can be practiced individually or together in a tabletop position.
Benefits of cat and cow pose include increased flexibility, back pain relief, kidney and adrenal gland stimulation, healthy breathing patterns and improved posture and spine alignment while also strengthening abdominal muscles.
The poses also prepare your body for more physical activity by generating internal warmth.