I’m In
August 4, 2009
Night Half-full
August 30, 2009

Parivrtta Svanasana, Turning Dog Pose

It is said that the asana limb of yoga began when ancient yogis emerged from their meditation caves creaky and stiff from long stints of sitting still. They discovered that some movement enabled them to recenter and return to their blissful states.

These newly flexible yogis titled a handful of poses after legendary gods. They derived others from their observations of the natural world, naming some after legendary dogs.

These faithful canines likely woke from their cave naps just as my dog today rises from her cushy bed, reaching first into upward-facing dog directly into downward-facing dog.

Up dog opens the front body, a real tail-wagger to anyone with PD who’s feeling that forward curl in their posture. Down dog, a favorite among practitioners today, stretches and strengthens the back and shoulders, lengthens the hamstrings and calves. It’s an all-around good dog, as is its half counterpart.

As I emerge from stints of sleep, creaky and stiff from lying in one position for too long, I’ve discovered that the yogis left out a pose. Maybe the caves were too dark at night to observe another in the line of canine-inspired asanas: turning dog.

Mystified at my inability to roll over – a real trick with PD, one might say – I decided to watch how the dog changed sleeping positions.

She gets up. Yes, the dog gets out of her bed, stands, reaches her neck and each leg slightly before she turns and folds back down.

It works. Sure, getting out of bed is a struggle. But less so than turning in bed. After a slight stretch of arms and legs, I turn, fold back down and return to my blissful state.

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