A couple of years ago, Google told me that ‘downward dog’ was a good pose for runners and I happily got in and out of it. The name ‘downward dog’ would jar a bit as I have always preferred using the classical Sanskrit names for asanas. But I suppose they can be quite a mouthful for those unfamiliar with it.
Adho Mukha Svanasana soon moved from being an ‘I can do that easily’ asana to a difficult one. I grew averse to this pose as I didn’t get it and there was no escaping it in any class. My hands would slip and I felt lumpy and heavy. The only time it felt good was while using the ropes. Although it still requires a lot of work, there is change as is visible in the pictures below.
As long as I keep working on it in the course of my practice, it will become effortless effort, of that I am sure. As Guruji says, change happens incrementally and over time. In asanas like these which are practised almost daily, it is difficult to get perspective as there are no radical changes. Pictures are a good guide and I take my little girl’s help to see myself. She has quite a sharp eye and shows me what needs work and at times also adjusts me. In Sarvangasana once, she instinctively came up and asked me to rest my legs against her hand, exactly like how the teachers do in class.
There are a few stray dogs in the vicinity who sleep peacefully in the mornings when I leave for a run. Sometimes I catch them in a beautiful stretch as they shake the night’s slumber. It’s such an elegant and efficient movement, absolutely effortless and with perfect alignment.
I look at Guruji’s pictures, especially his later ones and see how his pose exudes quietness. That is my ideal, that sense of quiet and expansiveness contained within the confines of my body. As though I am everything and nothing all at once, the drop and the ocean.
Guruji’s picture is taken from Light on Yoga
In gratitude for Guruji’s sadhana