Downward Dog & That Annoying Girl on the Left

This week was the last of my six sessions with the Redeemer of the Groupon so, naturally, it’s time to reflect.

Downward Dog is one of those poses in yoga that is simple and complicated all at the same time. It’s a rest position, but it also puts your body in a position that only dogs have grown accustomed to, so it’s stressful too.

In the last six weeks, I’ve been going back to basics with my yoga practice. It has enabled me to really feel how my body responds to postures instead of just moving through them. It’s been an interesting ride, but one I definitely don’t regret.

In the past, yoga studios where I’ve practiced have had at least one wall of mirrors. I liked it because I could self correct to look like what the poses should like. However, the Redeemer of the Groupon does not have mirrors in her studio, so it was really up to me to try to feel what’s right in a posture.

So, as someone who, more often than not, has tight hamstrings, I like to throw a little party in my head any time I can get my heels to the ground in downward dog. And then, I naturally try to “fold up” my downward dog a little bit more to get more of a stretch in my hamstrings. However, this detracts from the position of my upper body. But as I’m in the middle of celebrating the loosening of my hamstrings, I completely forget about the other half of my body. So, thank goodness for a teacher who walks over, pops her toes at the end of my mat about a foot and a half away from my hands and gets me to reach forward instead of folding up more.

Ah, that’s what downward dog is supposed to feel like.

I acknowledged the feeling, internalized it, and plan on going back to it as regularly as I can.

Later, after 10-15 sun salutations, it was time to move on to the standing postures in the ashtanga practice. Most of them consist of triangle, revolving triangle, extended side angle, and revolving crescent lunge. Those poses are always interesting to me because I can’t help but feel everything, every time. And it never feels the same. It’s always different.

Balance, on the other hand, is something that traditionally feels the same every time–wobbly, scary, too pretty to match my frustrated face. But, this week, we revived utthita hasta padangustasana, or Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose. It took a few wobbles and tries, but I managed to get the full pose with a straight leg and a straight back. As I stood on my mat and focused on the Buddha picture on the wall, I was throwing a party in my head (again). This time, it was because, despite falling out of the posture four or five times in the beginning, I persevered and managed to make it to the full expression.

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/2473

Utthita Hasta Padangustasana

One problem, I was in a class mostly full of beginners. So, I could feel the glares of frustration coming from the competitive ones. It didn’t exactly make it easy to stay up. THEN, the Redeemer of the Groupon, instructs them “Don’t pay attention to the annoying girl on the left.”

Hmmmmmm…..

And so I came out of the posture before I was ready.

I laughed it off though. There was no sense worrying about anything off my mat.

Soon the class was over and when I got home, I took the chance to reflect on what part of my practice I want to work on next / continue working on.

The conclusion I came to?

Downward Dog.

Savasana (Corpse Pose).

Two resting poses… that I need to work on.

Does that sounds to anybody else like I have a problem resting?

Because I think that sounds like a reasonable conclusion.

Namaste.

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