Touch Your Toes Friday

I feel particularly jubilant writing this post because not only am I writing about yoga, but I’m writing about yoga after finishing a positively grueling week of midterms. In case anyone is interested, I’d say they went well. I knew my stuff, cleared my mind, and rubbed Testudo’s nose-I even interrupted a tour group twice this week just so I could trudge through the crowd of youngins surrounding our shrine. “Sorry, guys, I have a midterm,” seemed to suffice, as people cleared the way.

Let’s take Upward-Facing Dog today. Like Down-Dog, Up-Dog is a pose common to most yoga classes, podcasts, and DVD workouts. An efficient way to take this pose is to ease into it from Down-Dog. Remember how in Down-Dog your hands are planted in the ground and your butt is in the air, pointing back to where the wall and ceiling meet? From that position, look towards your hands, bring yourself into a push-up position (Plank-remember that one?), and drop the tops of your feet to the floor. For now, you can drop your knees the floor, too. However, the full expression of this pose involves just the hands and top of the feet resting on the ground. Everything else is slightly elevated. Also, seal your legs together, as if you have one, long leg. Your hands do not move during this transition, so when you get into Up-Dog, they should be by your waist.

Up-Dog from iYogalife:

This pose may feel awkward at first because it requires you to push your hips forward while grounding your hands. Plus, you cannot easily check if your legs and feet are in the correct positions because you are facing forward. You might also feel some discomfort in your low back (I do sometimes!), but that feeling usually subsides with practice. Besides, discomfort is good for us. It helps us strengthen our muscles and helps us realize that nothing in life is permanent-not yoga poses, not good times, and not bad ones. After all, my week of midterms is coming to a close, isn’t it?.

Try moving into the pose from Down-Dog three times. When you get into Up-Dog, open your hips by swaying them back and forth (it’s called pin-balling-very fun!). Take long, deep inhales and exhales through your nose. Pay attention to how your hands feel as you sink them into the earth. What about your legs? You can’t see them at the moment, but shift your thoughts to the lower half of your body to help you align your body into correct posture.

Have fun with Up-Dog. It’s new. It’s a little uncomfortable. It’s yoga!


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