This pose makes me smile because I can picture my dogs Rosie and Bailey stretching, inviting each other to play with a similar playful bow.
When I don’t want to be as compressed as a child’s pose makes me, and I don’t want something as active as a downward-facing dog, I’ll often sink into puppy pose, also known as melting heart pose. I find the pose to be restorative and relaxing.
Puppy pose stretches your upper back and spine while opening through the shoulders and chest. It also releases tension in the shoulders and neck.
I often come into the pose from a tabletop, walking my hands ahead of me, bringing my forehead down to the mat. You want to keep your hips directly over your knees, making sure your knees are hip-width apart, allowing your shoulders to press away from your ears, then relax your shoulders. The tops of your feet will be pressed into the mat and your palms will be flat, with fingers spread. Keep your spine long, straight, and extended. Draw your belly button up, and pull your hips back while extending your arms.
This pose is a mild inversion so be careful, coming out of it slowly.