There’s this phenomenon on Facebook called Throwback Thursday where people post pictures of themselves from times past. In the fitness world people show “before” pics of themselves. Last night, I had some low moments and found myself feeling not too good about my current emotional state. When I find myself feeling down, I look for a way out, a way through. As I drove home from yoga, in the rain no less, an idea filtered into my head: instead of a Throwback Thursday picture, I’d make a Throwback Thursday video—and thus my downward dog adventures were born!!!
I first started doing hatha yoga in the summer of 1996 with my friend Sharon. We’d get together for some semi-private classes (there were about 7 of us) at a friend’s house. Our teacher, Craig Balcom, had the patience of a saint to put up with us! The antics we, well I, pulled in yoga that summer are legendary! But it’s safe to say they’ll remain secret!! Most of the women have moved away and Sharon has passed on.
I’m digressing again!! Such a habit of mine!
Back in 1996 I couldn’t even imagine doing downward facing dog! My body was too big (I weighed a lot more than I do now). I wasn’t strong enough. There was NO WAY I was even going to try it!
I’m not sure exactly when I first tried doing downward dog. I think it might have been when one of my instructors taught me how to do it against a wall. In the first sequence of the video, you’ll see me demonstrating the “against the wall variation”. I found even this to be difficult as my instructor (I don’t remember which one) would be picky about the position of my back. If I could have angled my back up I would have been just fine! But NOOOO!!!! I was ordered to do it correctly!! Imagine the horror!!!
At some point I could enter the pose from from tabletop position, with my knees on the ground. This you’ll see in the second portion of the video. I felt so HAPPY the day I could enter the pose from this position! I still didn’t care for staying in the pose though. That took too much effort!
One day, I don’t remember exactly when, I progressed to being able to enter the pose with my body almost flat on the ground. I felt elated!!! SOOO HAPPY!!! Still I didn’t care to stay in the pose—it felt toooooo taxing!!!!!
It’s different these days though. As I lost more weight I began to really appreciate down dog. While in the pose I can see the excess skin on my arms, and this makes me smile, makes me happy, The loose skin is a sign of progress that I’m working toward my goal. There are days where I’ll just stop in the middle of whatever I’m doing and go into down dog and look at the puckered up wrinkled loose skin on my upper arms—it’s a cool look actually. And I’ll stay in down dog for a few minutes just because! It makes me feel good as I can sense the growing strength in my body and in my mind!
Watching myself in this video, it would be easy for me to focus on my abdomen, but I actually notice my back more. I see a flat back. And that to me is a miracle. I used to have sooooo much back fat. It looked like I had “back boobs”!! I’m so grateful now to have a flatter back. That’s why I love locust pose so much in Bikram Yoga—it helps me to keep working on my back, and these days I can FEEL my back muscles in ways I’ve never felt them before. That’s a miracle. That’s a testament to my hard work. That keeps me going because I know I’ll feel in other places as I keep working toward my goal—to have a happier healthier body that allows me to truly live without self-imposed or worldly-imposed limitations!
(apologies for the lighting. It was raining outside and I made the video in the early morning light inside my apartment.)
Pic is of me doing Downward-Facing Dog February 2014
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