Doga = Yoga with a Dog

Smiling dogs everywhere !  Sometimes they even laugh as they play on this surf … They are very expressive beings.

Down dog with a dog 🐕 in the waves feels good 🙂 The above are photos from last Sunday walk with other paws friends. Time spent with our canine BFF got me thinking about how to better teach a dog.

Having been going mostly to teachers’ classes where one is always humbled by some other superhuman yogi flying through the air and striking a side-crow, it’s a reality check. It’s a reality to check to teach yoga to regular you and me who do yoga after work or on weekends, that is,  after caring for family members, after that snarly commute, after feeding the hungry … after that long day 9- 5 and more work, in all the roles you play and different hats you wear, to show up –  as part of the overall fitness program.  It’s not the ashram in India or a monk life in the temple in Japan shutting out the world here – to take time out for self-care to find insights from this ancient but modern practice for self- care.  It’s real and so needed so we can be fully engaged and awake and embracing of this life.  It’s a surprising reality that some people find even a Child’s pose a challenge.  But not down dog.  It’s all about which body part is in need of some TLC and recovery.

t’s actually challenging to teach in an all levels class because you have to be mindful of everyone and noticing who is not following the cues. Often the “flow” is interrupted by those who are fumbling … or worse, giving up. Looked over the divine faces attending my class for “normal folks” and in that initial exchange realized I have someone in his 20’s – a runner and in contrast a senior in her early 70’s completely new to Yoga and … all in between with various issues attending the same class ! If that’s not scary or even terrorizing, I don’t know what is – just kidding – really enjoy the mix of abilities, levels, and conditions – and seeing how to make all poses accessible to every single practitioner. My intention is earnestly just that.  I am not trying to dumb it down nor am I trying to turn off anyone – I just want everyone to get hooked the way I was …and that may mean referring to another teacher or suggesting another style more in tune with their uncovered needs.

Down dog tutorial can be helpful for those who don’t feel the joy in this pose. Often the beginners are just imitating the outward shape (and actually, down-dog is not a beginner pose …).  In a self-critiquing, or feeling rushed, they forgo accessing their own proprioception to get the best out of the pose.  If just copying the appearance of a pose, and without upper body strength, then unfortunately their wrists or their lower back and shoulders may suffer.  And breath?  What do you mean? Right.

Let’s deconstruct this pose to find more ease and freedom ❤️🐾  Your dog may not look like the dog images you see on yoga magazine covers. Your imprint may be different. But you are going to feel so much better.