I was talking about pets the other day with some of my friends. One of them has recently adopted a dog and the other one is also planning on getting one. All of us know a dog lover or two. All of us know a downward dog lover or two too (#yogahumor)!
In ‘Beyond Asanas‘ the first chapter is about the downward dog pose. When researching this posture I looked at dog-lore from different cultures. My goal was also to unearth dog-related stories in our mythology. And sure enough – I found a few stories – two of which have made it into this chapter. In one story a dog helps Lord Indra and in another story a dog is granted admission into heaven after the battle of Kurukshetra.
The Downward Dog is a challenging posture. The most common challenge I see with students is the inability to lengthen the spine. Many beginners are in a hurry to place the heels on the floor, and this compromises the form of the lower back.
- Place your hands and knees on the floor, shoulder and hip width apart.
- Spread your fingers wide on the mat and press the hands down firmly.
- Start to straighten your legs.
- Lift and extend your tailbone up and out.
- Extend the torso by extending the spine.
- Lengthen the back of the legs as you push the heels into the floor.
- Relax the neck, face and shoulders.
You can use props such as a wall, blocks and a rope to help you in aligning the posture. I’ve written a few helpful hits about how to improve this posture in ‘Beyond Asanas: The Myths and Legends Behind Yogic Postures’. Those of you who follow me on YouTube may remember this video I made in 2016. It’s a great video for beginners, because of the detailed explanation of how to get into the posture. Do check it out – it will surely help.
I’ve listed out at least 10 benefits of this asana in the book. However, there are contraindications as well, and those have also been described in ‘Beyond Asanas’. Pick up your copy today.
I’ve never had a dog, but I’m not impervious to their charms. If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve met Aston. He makes my time in Pune a little more fun, a little less lonely.
Photos: @khan.clicks deavalin_david_dsouza]