From a ‘downward facing dog’ perspective…

downwardfacingdog

(yeah, Villa’s Messi’s, RVPs and Suarez’s goals (not the biterratti bit) have been the playing themselves out in our collective minds all these weeks, here’s an interlude on a daily practice)

 

For days now, a niggling pain in the right arm from an injury has forced me to customize my usual 30-45 min dawn yoga practice to suit my current state. Well, Yoga is after all about staying in a pose one day and not being able to flex or bend to the same extent the next day.  The mind dictates one day and another day, holding a pose long enough teaches the mind resilience.

I have been working on varying sets of sequences each day – from a core strengthening set to backbends or hip openers and cardio vinyasas as part of the regular ashtanga sequences for the past few years now.

As any yoga practioner knows, no sequence is complete without that one pose that most of us tend to take for granted – -the downward dog. But now I suddenly realized that this was the hardest one to do given my current arm injury. And so began a deeper exploration of this pose.

A simple luxurious stretch (like all dogs do) actually required so much focus and accuracy. And, when done in this manner, all pain disappeared. Moving of the shoulders away from the ears, turning the inside of the elbows towards the ribs, splaying the fingers and spreading the front body weight on all fingers and the base of the palm, keeping the elbows from jutting out at right angles to the ribs, while also stretching the thighs and lifting the hips and grounding the heels.  It is after all a resting pose and demands as much attention as a savasana.

Isn’t that why yoga is so enriching?

After many months today, I attempted a set of sequences that led to the bakasana or crow pose – an arm balance pose that i never thought I could do anymore. Surprisingly, when I went through a guided sequence of baddhakonasana (butterfly) to stretching the legs apart and interspersing these two poses with a series of navasanas (boat pose), half pigeon (eka pada rajakapotasana) and uthkitasana (fierce pose) followed by the down dogs, and a final malasana that helped me into a strong bakasana, the sense of achievement was indeed tremendous.

 

bakasan, crow pose

(images – courtesy – Yoga Journal)

On a tired day after work, if there is time to do only one pose, let it be the adhomukha svanasana for 60 secs!

 

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