Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Real Downward Facing Dog—Revealed!

...one thing people look for in a blog with yoga in the title is...yoga...or, more particularly, instructions on how to do particular yoga poses...or asanas, for you Sanskrit nerds out there...which, until now, is something that this humble blog has not offered...as I’m still working on doing them on my own without hurting myself...and passin’ on the hurt isn’t exactly what that yoga thing’s supposed to be about...

...beginning with this post, however, I’m bringing in a series of experts...not only to provide practical yoga instruction, but to break new ground in giving far more authentic versions of asanas than are generally known...beginning with downward facing dog... adho mukha svanasana...featuring my canine yogini friend, Bella...pictured...

...one thing about canine yoga is that it just kinda occurs naturally...thus, I couldn’t get Bella to actually demonstrate the pose for the camera...instead, we have something that looks vaguely like a kind of slightly off center child’s pose...balasana...or, perhaps, puppy’s pose...anybody knows the Sanskrit for that, please leave it in a comment below..

...nonetheless, having studied Bella’s moves first thing in the morning, when I’m far too drowsy to get a decent picture...I can attest to a paradoxical aspect of the real downward facing dog...that is, one doesn’t actually face downward while doing it....you know how that eastern thought goes...paradoxes all over the place....instead, the nose goes forward, eyes slightly upward...looking at me....not sure where they are when there’s nobody watching...that's what's known as the observer's paradox, by the way...

...as importantly, the position of the legs is far different from that in what has traditionally been called downward facing dog...with both straight up, if not somewhat concave, butt sticking way back...

...it occurs to me at this point that, to do this pose properly, one needs to have pretty short legs and a very long spine...in fact, I think ya pretty much have to be a dog...

...so, guess that’s it for this lesson...namaste...or woof...or something...

...future posts in this series will provide instruction for authentic camel pose...ustrasana...and eagle pose...garudasana...soon as I find a camel and an eagle...

21 comments:

Lumen et Aperio said...

I would like to see an authentic cobra pose. How about a pigeon and a happy cow, while you're at it?

jehannie said...

I love this blog. you are so refreshing. I love to hear the wanderings of your mind.

Mandy said...

Nice. My dogs love my mat, their precious little selves think the floor is to hard for them I guess...To bad by "sticky mat", that means dog hair loves to...urgh.

Maybe puppy pose would be "Ardha Adho Mukha Svanasana" Half Down Dog?? I like Down Puppy better!

PS...Work that Hard CORE!

Eco Yogini said...

haha. this was awesome.

Dr. Jay- i love your vague, ambiguous and sarcastic posts :) they are fantastic.

Brooks Hall said...

Yes. Exactly. Pure dog pose...

earthtoholly said...

As TN Ernie Ford would say, Bless your pea-pickin' heart... for giving us a pic of Bella, drjay. And that is quite the excellent photo. She looks like such a sweetheart, so cooperative, all stretched out on her yoga mat and ready to work. Hooray for you, Bella!

Namaste you twooz...

ZenYenta said...

Excellent. Maybe we'll sign Lola up for yoga classes.

roseanne said...

lol! love it!

Erik Donald France said...

Haha.

Kim said...

I'd also like to see you get an authentic warrior.

The dog is adorable.

Deborah Godin said...

Yes, short legs, long spine, and why not throw in a tail for a little extra balance.

Kavindra said...

Don't forget to get a Happy Baby - they're easier to handle than eagles, cobras, camels - tho there is the poo ...

RB said...

adorable!

Jan from BetterSpines said...

Your canine yogini looks very professional. Thanks for demonstrating in a way we amateurs can understand.

Aggie said...

I'm looking forward to the mangerie of poses and I think your real name might Dr Doolittle?

Ruby Isabella said...

Bella seems to be doing a soulfulasana. I have been trying to do humanasana. The one you humans do first thing in the morning Arms stretch up to make a Y and a big yawn completes it. A bit tricky. I think upward and downward facing dog is enough for me. Even though we don't face downwards, actually we don't have a name for it because it is so natural, like you guys don't have a name for humanasana.

quillcards said...

You were very close with 'woof'

The forward open paws reflect openness and peace, whence the Sanskrit for this pose is derived - 'woofasana'

Namaste

Lydia said...

If you feel like a good long bike ride to Oregon you can consult this guy who lives about ten miles from my house. Show me the pose you guys work out and dinner's on me.

I loved this post with Bella, and your new place looks wonderful from what is shown in the photo.

Rhiannon said...

Have you thought about working part time as a script writer for famous comedians dialogue? No, really seriouslly...:o) I can see you doing this Jay.

I know that George (Carlin) would have just loved your writing..sad he is passed on and couldn't have read some of your work.

Rhi

berenice said...

oh yeah Dr. Jay! this is great, yeah of course dogs are the creators of the downward facing dog indeed, huh? when i see my cats every morning stretching and going thru their yoga routines i grew jealous of them, why wouldn't we humans get that Yoga stretching embedded to our genes as they do??? they are natural Yogies, they know what's good for their bodies

and btw Bella is truly bella :) regardless of the pose ;)

intrepidideas said...

Pretty funny and clever. Thanks for sharing.