by Abbie Galvin

August 6th 2012

Anyone who has ever taken a yoga class is familiar with a downward facing dog pose.  The dog pose expresses the archetype of this primitive animal.  Dog owners who practice yoga often say that their precious pets can do a  perfect dog pose. This is because dogs instinctively do an ideal version of a dog pose; It is a stretch that demands the full arch of the back and front of the torso with four equal points of contact on the ground.

You simultaneously press into the floor with your feet and your hands and lift off yourself, through the joint spaces of your wrists and ankles. It is a posture that is expressed through a 60 degree angle, from the heels of your hands, to the fulcrum of your buttock bones, to the heels of your feet.  


In order to find the ideal pose, begin on your hands and knees and lift through your hips, straightening your arms and bending your knees so that the pinnacle of the pose is the sacrum. Like any other pose, the most functional dog pose uses the geometry of an equilateral triangle.While Geometric shapes are static and linear,the true archetype of a dog is not static, but one that is in motion. Instead of holding a dog pose use your imagination to fully explore its weight-bearing nature. In the dog pose, find the center of each hand, which puts you in the center of the bone of your arm and shoulder rather than sitting in a muscle. In this way the strength, structure and stability of the pose supports you instead of your effort to hold it. 

In this pose, cross reference your left  hand to your right foot and your right hand to your left foot  so that you are  engaging your neurology as you play within the form. Think of your hands and feet as four plugs in sockets  which draw a currency up through the joints of your  wrists and your ankles and move a flow of energy through your arms and legs.   

Finally, know that this pose contains a perfect forward bend and a perfect backbend.  Know that in the dog pose there is a 60 angle that is both dynamic and stable, a true characteristic of the nature of most doggies.