Every morning as I’m wrapping up my asana practice and head into final relaxation, a four-legged canine creeper slinks into my yoga room, and coils herself up beside me in “dogvasana.” I started this regular 5:00 am routine last year, and both of my dogs often help participate in “Doga” while I’m moving through my Vinyasa.
No matter where they are in the house, they’re attracted to the energy that begins to flow during my practice. They’ll often settle around my mat very quietly, and take a nap or just sit blissfully with their eyes half-closed. At first, I would try to shoo them away. This was my very serious spiritual morning routine, after all. But, I started to notice how peaceful and serene we all get when I’m moving from Trikonasana (triangle) to Ardha Chandrasana (half-moon pose) or relaxing in supported bridge. Everyone’s energy is alive and calm, and we’re happy.
I started to watch them with a different eye throughout the day, and I began to see yoga poses everywhere. I see downward facing dog and upward facing dog mini-Vinyasas every morning when we first get up and stretch before heading down for breakfast.
My chow mix is poised in Tadasana (mountain pose) at the window every afternoon when neighbors are walking their dogs. My herding dog mix playfully slaps her paws on the ground to get my attention in modified Adho Mukhasana aka “puppy dog,” and she often sits regally in Sphinx pose, propped up on her elbows with her legs stretched out flat on the ground behind her.
But their favorite pose is of course, dogvasana; typically sprawled out on their backs or their sides. These are yoga poses as they were intended to be; supremely in the moment. For them, it’s not a spiritual practice or a conscious effort to sculpt their bodies. All they know is that they are attracted to the energy, the stretches feel good, and they want to lay near their me.
How can you argue with such divine presence? There’s a hand mudra (shuni mudra) that therapists often use to calm their patients. In Shuni Mudra, the tip of the middle finger touches the tip of the thumb, symbolizing patience. In neurolinguistics, therapists use this mudra with patients, instructing them to draw upon a time or place where/when they feel at peace. So that any time they are feeling anxious or out of control, they can simply close their eyes, take a few breaths, press the thumb & middle finger together, and begin to feel a wave of calm as this mudra triggers feelings of peace.
When I close my eyes, and assume Shuni Mudra, I’m in Dogvasana.
– Your Charmed Yogi