The ‘downward-facing dog’ is like coming home

It‘s late afternoon on a Tuesday and this means: Yoga! After rushing to the studio and making it just in time, I am now placing the mat, blankets, wooden blocks and my water bottle. Then I sit down on the pillow, trying to calm down. Damn, my nose is running! Quickly rooting around for a tissue, it would be too disturbing later. Our yoga teacher Birgit hovers in happily, mega body, super likeable, a bit chaotic at times. Someone has already lit the candles, Birgit is lighting the incense sticks. The lights have to be dimmed now. The lighting system in the room is difficult, it always gets bright like during a nuclear incident before we reach a cosy atmosphere. We are all sitting down with our legs crossed and finally we start. Buddha is smiling at us, we are smiling at Buddha and start with the first meditation.

This week’s topic is ‘forward bends’. Great, I’m glad, I like that you can actually breathe yourself further and further down. The girl next to me is new and is peeping over all the time to see what I’m doing. I think this is funny, because I have only been doing yoga for about a year, really and only know a fraction of the asanas. But I do know some. We lift our arms and twist sideways and start with the first bend. Then change down to all fours, that is being on hands and knees. Oh no, I know what’ll happen. And here we go – “We turn into the ‘downward-facing dog’!“ The ‘downward-facing dog’ is the yoga position which nearly everybody knows – you leave your hands and feet on the ground and move your posterior towards the sky. And nearly everybody passionately HATES the ‘downward-facing dog’! Most people because their sinews and muscles are too short and their legs get sore. This is not my problem, but I just don’t have enough strength in my arms and start shaking very fast. Birgit hovers – still and always happily – through the room, corrects and talks and over all that talking she forgets how long we are already being the stupid dog. New girl next to me already starts to breathe hectically but doesn’t dare to leave the position. Nobody has told her yet that she is actually allowed to do that. When I finally break down and start cracking up laughing, she also gets back on her knees, visibly relieved. We briefly turn into the ‘cobra’, get up and become an ‘eagle’, all good, but then again: the ‘downward-facing dog’. I am going to freak out! The other day I learned that this position is called ‘the mountain’ in Nepal, so I’m trying to picture this, it seems easier. But why does ‘the mountain’ still have to be held by my arms? And we continue, it does get easier, the muscles are warm, and concentration rises. We bend forwards, roll up and then, finally, for ending the lesson – you guessed it!!! Birgit says “’The forward-facing dog’ is like coming home, don’t you think?” I am actually thinking “I hate the bleeding cur!” Oops, I didn’t just think it; I said it out loud and new girl is close to hysteria.

Then finally we move into ‘shavasana’, the final relaxation and I notice how straight I can actually lie down. At some stage we come to, sit doing the praying position – om shanti, three times – and thank ourselves for this yoga lesson. And as always, I am really happy that I actually did fight my weaker self once again, because it’s good.  And look back, every asana is a bit like coming home.

Namaste, folks! I gotta add a soundtrack here and it’s not chants but – Baha men: Who let the dogs out 

Yours truly, madly, deeply!


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3 thoughts on “The ‘downward-facing dog’ is like coming home

  1. Pingback: How a single load of washing is crucial for your year! | The German Perspective

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