Down Dog

The interesting thing about surviving long weeks –both mentally and work-related—is that they never actually kill you. You think they will, but they don’t. Yet, they succeed in leaving you thoroughly exhausted, and with no desire –whatsoever—to create or be creative. Now, for some, this may in fact be a non-issue.

Those whose responsibilities as an employee ends the moment they clock-out of work, and don’t resume until they officially clock back in. For others, like myself, who are a little less than able to escape the nagging tug of responsibility and priorities –as a writer, there is no such ideal as a clock-in to clock-out—it is in fact a major issue.

But, the issue doesn’t simply revolve around being exhausted or temporarily uninspired. It is in truth finding a way out of the rut.

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It’s harder getting on your mat than off of your mat.

Over the years, I’ve found that the biggest struggle, for me personally, is the idea of mental clarity. That space in my mind that allows me to both compartmentalize the weight of my day or week and simply progress, think, write, create. My mind –oddly enough operated by a mind of its own—is an endless stream of things to do, and things that I have done: accomplishments, successes, grandiose failures, embarrassments, and sheer disappointments. I’ve yet to find an off switch.

So you’re possibly wondering what correlation, if any at all, is there between of yoga and mental clarity. Well, other than being a bit of a stretch, and in some cases, one crazy workout, it compels you to release your mind from everything and anything that isn’t important in that very instance.

Take for example Adho Mukha Svanasana more commonly known as Down Dog.

Come onto the center of your mat on your hands and knees, ensuring that you set your knees beneath your hips. Spread the palms of your hands and turn your toes under. In this position, begin to breathe. Allow a long and deep inhale to fill your body. Listen to your body in this moment. Feel the space that once wasn’t there, that now exists.

As you begin to exhale, gently lift your knees away from the floor, keeping them slightly bent and allow your heels to hover above your mat. Slowly elongate your arms, your tailbone, and straighten your back.

 Down Dog Tutorial (an example by an awesome yogi named Adriene)

Breathe.

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Sometimes you question yourself… It’s normal.

What I appreciate most about Down Dog is that it signifies this point of transition from a moment of stillness, but not the good stillness; rather that stillness where your muscles are wound up because this is the beginning of your meditation.

This is where you slowly work yourself out of those initial knots and shake off the laziness that makes you rethink running out the door before the class really takes off. Down Dog bridges the gap between the tension and its inevitable release.

The very thing I seek.

As you release your pose, gently return your knees to your mat and allow your hips to sit back and rest on your heels into Child’s Pose, feel the difference in what you’ve created. Not simply the stretching and preparation of your muscles or the space as a result of your breathing.

But notice how there is a sense of awareness of the moment that wasn’t there before. You haven’t thought it into fruition but rather, through the process of honing in on this pose, and on your breathing. You’ve afforded your mind the foundation to access that mental clarity needed to move from rut to productive. Simply continue to build on it.

 

I bow to the divine in you as the spirit within me honors the spirit within you. Even in this crazy world.

Namas’Cray

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