This article about yogi’s best friend has been wagging around the interwebs for the past week. As it turns out, Downward Facing Dog (or adho mukha svanasana for the Sanskrit dorks) isn’t just a good stretch for your spine (and a pose you either love or hate depending on the tightness of your shoulders and/or hamstrings). It’s also got some awesome extra overall health benefits you probably had no idea about.
So what makes down dog so good? You guessed it, the Bladder channel! Oh, you didn’t guess that? Keep reading.
According to acupuncturist and editor of website AcuTake, Sara Calandro, the D dog takes care of the whole body by activating the “Bladder channel.”
The Bladder channel, sometimes referred to as tai yang, is the longest channel in the body. It has 67 acupuncture points that run from the inner eye, up and over the head, down the entire spine and posterior leg, along the side of the foot and ending at the pinkie toe.
The location of the Bladder channel is significant because the back in acupuncture is considered the most yang — the most external, superficial — part of the body. It is our initial connection with the outside world.
The Bladder channel, since it takes up such significant territory on the back, is our first line of defense against invaders from the external environment — cold, wind, germs, pollen, etc. For this reason, points along the Bladder channel are frequently selected to get rid of cold and flu symptoms, and to boost immunity.
Downward-facing dog elongates the entire Bladder channel, enabling flow and strengthening the body’s primary defense mechanism.
The Bladder channel also contains what are known in acupuncture as the “Back Shu” points. Every organ has a Back Shu point along the Bladder channel (shu in Chinese means “to transport,” as in transport qi, perhaps in the form of or blood, or fluids, etc.) and these points are used by acupuncturists diagnostically and as treatment points for chronic diseases like “anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual irregularities, asthma, incontinence, migraines, insomnia, etc.”
Sure gives Down Dog Peeing on a Hydrant pose a whole new meaning. The more you know!
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