What is Upward Dog?

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the things I love the most about Yoga is the way it allows each person to experience whatever it is they are living through at that given moment. With every pose, you feel something different from the last time you did that pose, and you will definitely be experiencing something different from the person on their mat next to you. Once you get into it, you learn to listen to your body, and you learn to accept wherever you are for what it is, rather than what you expected your practice. This is more of a follow on on from “What is yoga?” and I hope that it will show you, dear reader, a little bit more about what yoga truly is all about.

Say Hi to Ellen everyone

What is Upward Dog yoga pose

What is Upward Dog

I love this pose for its kindness; it’s gentle and subtle. A lot of the heart or hip openers in the yoga practice can be quite dramatic in their effect. Most of our emotion is stored in the hips and heart so any pose that demands a deep opening of those areas, can be a massive emotional trigger. Almost everyone who has practiced yoga would have found themselves crying on the mat without reason. While sometimes this is completely necessary, there are also times where I want a pose that feels like it lifts my heart, rather than blows it wide open. There is a massive vulnerability in heart openers, but upward dog makes me feel safe. I don’t find this pose physically demanding, so it’s one of the poses I am able to find calmness. So many poses are still a physical struggle for me, or take dedicated concentration. So being fully comfortable in a pose, allows for a whole other dimension that can’t be found without complete stillness. When on the outside, everything is perfectly aligned and at ease, it allows you to go inward. In some poses, going inward is tough, but in this pose, I fell joy, every time. More often than not I find myself smiling, I can’t tell you what it is about gently opening your heart and lifting it up to the sky, but it is a beautiful surrender.

What is Upward Dog Yoga Pose

What is Upward Dog Yoga Pose

For me, this pose is kind of like breathing a sigh of relief, or that moment where you have been holding your breath underwater and you manage to break the surface. In some classes it’s more of a transition pose, so it’s a quick breath in and then back into the flow – but I usually find myself dawdling, hanging around here, sneaking in an extra breath, delaying the movement of the next pose. I think that there is something inherent in human nature that we seek comfort, and when we find it we don’t want to leave. This pose is more than comfort, it’s a really peaceful moment in a practice where I just feel content and at ease. Even reading Ellen’s words made me laugh because sometimes I also catch myself smiling in this pose, which is a weird thing to do if I’m in a class or just practicing on my own, I’m that chick just having a little LOL on her yoga mat. When I practice by myself, I somehow find myself coming back to this pose before the ‘all of the focus or you land on your face’ poses, and I come back to it afterwards. If you have dogs, you will have noticed they do this all the time – after a good nap. And dogs are always happy, to their core. I like to think that opening your heart to the sky like this lets all the good things in, and that the reason it makes me smile is because it reminds me of all the things I have in my life to be grateful for.

3 thoughts on “What is Upward Dog?

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