Downward-facing dog and grounding your energy

Adho Mukha Svanasana, literally downward facing dog in Sanskrit, is one of the poses I deliberately fine tuned during my recent YTT. It is actually a resting pose, doable anywhere, and I have no plans to EVER stop giving it to myself or students. Our Root Chakra, the muladhara, comes alive in this asana… it is absolutely superb for awakening our stability and moving up a tired yogin’s life force.


My trainer here on Denman, Sandy Melnyk, and her yoga guru, a foremost teacher on the west coast of Canada, Sandra Sammartino, both helped me surrender to the down-dog as a resting pose, to see it as a place to exercise my will yet abandon effort. At her packed workshop in Cumberland, BC, Sandra kept repeating:

“draw up the sacrum, within adho mukha. Let go at the neck, and breathe… straighten the spine upward. Drop the shoulders – drop the shoulders – send energy through the backs of the knees. Soften muscles and expand your bones… “

My reflections:

  • I can feel my vertebrae defying gravity…
  • Loosen up!
  • Pointing the tip of my tailbone to heaven, I feel connected to my foundation, to the warmth of Father Sky, and breathe in abundant security…
  • Adho mukha turns my face red, like the colour associated with this cakra.
  • I’m inverted in this triangle. My perspective is reversed.
  • My lifeforce and qi are starting to really flow. Skin heating up like the gas has been lit.


puppy face

Svana means dog so I am going to use Adho Mukha Svanasana this week to help me better understand why my 14-year old dog won’t sleep through the night?  It is disturbing our household but the root of her fear has remained a mystery to us?

Questions to ponder:

What is insomnia? What is sleeping, dreaming, meditating, dying and suffering? What is the root of my sleeplessness? How do I experience sleeplessness?


Reflections on purvottanasana – intense stretch to the east(coast)

Asanas, physical yoga postures, can be used to break through personal boundaries in the mind. Purvottanasana – intense stretch to the east – exactly what I’m doing this winter, staying on the east coast for the first time in years, exploring faith, innocence and curiosity.

The first few days of my sojourn have been challenging, but in a befuddled moment, I opened my heart and the universe granted me clarity. When I pulled the card I smiled and reminded myself of all I learned in 2009 about commitment. “No wavering. Focus. Remember the love that surrounds me, yet also comes from within me.”

Open my heart. That was the first lesson from Purvottanasana… and upon further reflection I can see a connection to the morning blues I seem to experience and the need to rise like the sun, with warmth and light emanating from my heart like sun ray shining with equanimity…

With so much to get down about in the world, we must find ways to transform global pain into joy, both for ourselves and our community. The idea of taking time for myself everyday to practice and reflect on the Intense stretch to the east makes me feel jazzed. I have a feeling that the practice will help me be a better person because it will illuminate the dark parts of myself I get afraid of, and in turn will allow me to be free of illusion – the ultimate aim of any yogin.