One of the most compelling benefits of Downward Dog is the natural way it stretches your lower back, hamstrings and calves. Many people who lead a sedentary lifestyle can experience tight hamstrings and calves from standing, walking and sitting for long periods of time.
To increase the stretch to the back of your body, press your heels down to the ground while you continue to press into your hands and spread your fingers.
A popular variation of Downward Dog is to “walk your dog.” In other words, bend one knee then the other, to focus on stretching your hamstrings and calves. Try timing it with a few deep, slow breaths.
4. To strengthen and stretch your wrists and ankles.
Our wrists and ankles tend to be neglected and abused joints. We use them constantly in every day life, but we rarely stretch them. Downward Dog gently strengthens your wrists by using some of your bodyweight. At the same time, it stretches your ankles by flexing them in at about 45 degrees while you press down through your heels.
These are indispensable actions to protect these critical joints, especially as we age.
5. To release tension in your neck and shoulders.