This Physical Therapist-Approved downward dog variation Gives Your Core Extra Love

Photo: Stocksy/Jovo Jovanovic
Downward dog is already a beneficial move without any tweaks. It stretches out your body, strengthens your muscles, stabilizes your spine, and helps relieve pain. That's pretty impressive for a single yoga pose. And when you make a tiny variation to downward dog, it can help improve your core power, too.

Physical therapist Lara Heimann takes her downward dog to the wall. "One of my favorite all-time moves for strength, length, and core integration is down dog on the wall," she writes on Instagram. By raising your lower body into the air and doing small movements with your legs as your upper body stays still and stable, you're better able to target the muscles in your core. That being said, it's not easy: You might be shaky until you build up your strength.

If you want to make the adjustment at home, use Heimann's step-by-step instructions to master the move.

How to do downward dog variation on the wall

As shown in Heimann's video (above):

  1. Begin on all fours and lift into down dog with your heels against the wall.
  2. Keeping your arms straight and front ribs lifted, step up onto the wall so your body is in an L-like shape. Be sure not to sink in the ribs or round your back. Bend your knees if you need to.
  3. Slowly pull your right thigh into your belly, externally rotate your hip like your foot is going to cross over your other knee, then return your foot to the wall.
  4. Repeat on the other side and alternate the movement back and forth.
  5. When you're finished, hold the pose for a few breaths with both feet on the wall before coming down.

For a full flow, try yoga for beginners:

These yoga tips will have you better stretched and more mobile than ever before. Then try the best power yoga videos on YouTube. (All of them are under 10 minutes!)

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