I’d rather be in Dogvasana

smyrna ga dog in savasana yogaEvery 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. Continue reading

What Your Favorite Yoga Pose Says About You (4 of 4): Triangle Pose

As we come to a close with the series, “What Your Favorite Yoga Pose Says About You,” I’ll ring in Trikonasana or Triangle Pose.  In Sanskrit, tri means three and kona means corner, which is the woman-standing-trikonasanashape of the body (primarily the legs) when expressing this fundamental yoga pose.

Another one of my favorite poses (notice the theme of the selection process here), Trikonasana strengthens the core, particularly the obliques.  Control your descent and ascent into the pose with your core to protect your back and hips.  We often strengthen our rectus abdominus muscles (upper), but neglect our transverse abdominals (lower), and obliques.  And when our core muscles atrophy, our back weakens.   When done correctly, triangle stretches the muscles of the groin, ankles, hamstrings, calves, hips, spine and chest.  Tight hips often manifest in back pain, so this opening pose can actually relieve back pain.

From Tadasana (mountain pose), step your left foot back three and a half feet or more, and ground your left foot so it’s parallel with the back edge of your mat.  A good way to determine if your stance is wide enough is to spread your arms and see if your ankles are below your wrists.  From this standing pose, shift your hips back toward the back of your mat and extend your right arm far out over your right ankle before lowering your right hand to the floor to ensure length in the side body and spine.  Be careful not to lock your knees and ground your right big toe into the mat so you aren’t rolling to the outside of your foot.  This subtle adjustment facilitates strengthening the arch of your foot.

Let go of ego when sinking into Triangle.  If you can’t bring your hands all the way to the floor without collapsing into your side, bring your hands up to your shin or a block.  Open your hips, open your chest, extend your left arm and gaze to the ceiling and protect your neck by keeping your head parallel to the floor and maintain length in both sides of the neck. Continue reading