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Friday, February 22, 2008

Yoga Exercise - Dog Pose

The Dog Pose or Dog Tilt has its center on the pelvis. It stretches the back, opens the chest, and builds upper body strength. In addition, it stretches the whole back side of the body, arms, shoulders, hips, heels, and hamstrings. The name itself, Dog Pose, tells what kind this pose is or how it will go about.

Start on your hands and knees. Position your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath the hips. Have your fingers fully spread with the middle fingers pointing straight ahead. Make your back horizontal and flat. Gaze at the floor. This is your "neutral" position. When your pelvis is in neutral, your spine will be at full extension, with both the front and back sides equally long.

As you wait for the inner cue, do not sag into your shoulders. Instead, create a line of energy through each arm by pressing downward into your hands and lifting your shoulders. Go back and forth like this several times to make sure you understand the movement.

When you are ready to begin, breathe in deeply. As you exhale, turn your hips into "Cat Tilt". Do this by gently pulling the abdominal muscles backward toward the spine, tucking the tailbone (coccyx) down and under, and gently contracting the buttocks. Press firmly downward with your hands in order to stay lifted out of the shoulders, and lift the middle of your back toward the ceiling, rounding your spine upward. Curl your head inward. Gaze at the floor between your knees.

As you inhale, turn your hips into Dog Tilt. Do this by releasing the grip of the buttocks, reversing the tilt of your pelvis, and curving your spine into a smoothly arched backbend.

This posture can remove fatigue, improve breathing, improve circulation of blood to the brain, and rejuvenate the entire body. You can also improve by bending the elbows and lowering the forearms to the floor. This posture is not advised to people with recent injuries on their back, hips, arms or shoulders. People with high blood pressure must consult their doctors first.

Warning:I encourage everybody to try and practice each Yoga Pose by yourselves at home or in the office. However, if you are feeling uncomfortable or are not able to complete a posture, do not push yourself. Yoga Exercise is not a competition, so just relax and try again. Nonetheless, it might be helpful to actually sign up for some Yoga Classes where a professional teacher will guide you through each yoga pose and make sure you are doing the exercise correctly.

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