PAWSitive Reinforcement: 7 Yoga Poses Inspired by Your Pup

By Lena Schmidt Lena SchmidtHave you ever watched your dog stretch in the morning? If so, then you know why we call that iconic pose Downward-Facing Dog. Hang around a dog long enough and you’ll be reminded of some yoga-related health benefits:
Present moment awareness and single-pointed focus: Dogs have the amazing ability to always be in the now and be completely content being there. Dog thoughts: “The ball. The Ball. THE BALL!”
Forgiveness and letting go of resentment: Ever notice how when you leave for the day your dog is utterly and completely depressed? Those sad eyes tell the whole story. Dog thoughts: “She’s never coming back. I’m alone forever. This is finally IT. The worst has happened.”
And when you return (whether it’s 15 minutes later or 15 days later), it’s THE BEST day of their lives. Dog thoughts: “YOU CAME BACK! I love you and I’m so happy and you’re the best and the world is an amazing place and you’re home!!”
Play: Studies show that play can relieve stress, improve brain function, boost creativity, improve relationships and connection, and boost energy. No one plays better than a pup. Dog thoughts: “Doesn’t matter how I look [ridiculous], it’s about how I feel [amazing].”
The pleasure of using all the senses: Dogs are known for having keen senses and even work as guides, therapists, companions, search-and-rescue dogs, military dogs, police canines, and airport security dogs because of their abilities. If you smell (sniff), taste (lick), touch (rub, scratch, roll), see (you’re home!) and hear (howwwwwwl) with as much awareness as your dog, you’ll be tuned into the world in a very mindful way.
Here are some yoga poses inspired by puppies. And after you practice, don’t forget to give yourself a treat. Now that’s pawsitive reinforcement!
Puppy Pose (Anahatasana)

Dog thoughts: “Let’s playyyyy!”
Try it:
Come to hands and knees.
Keeping your hips and tailbone lined up over your knees, reach your arms forward and lower your chest toward the ground.
Allow your back to arch slightly while keeping the low abs toned.
Rest your forehead or chin on the ground or a block.
Work your arms straight and lift your elbows off the ground.
Allow your chest to relax and your shoulder blades to come closer together on your back.
Hold the pose for three to five breaths.
Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Dog thoughts: “Ohhhh yeahhhh!”
Try it:
Come to hand and knees.
Bring your hands as wide as your shoulders.
Spread your hands wide and press down through your palms.
Tuck your toes under and lift your knees up.
Lift your tailbone and press your chest back toward your knees.
Relax your head and neck.
Work on elongating your spine, even if that means bending your knees.
Hold the pose for three to five breaths.
Option: “Wag your tail” by swaying your heels and hips side to side to stretch your sides.
Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdva Mukha Svanasana)

Dog thoughts: “Arrrrrrrrrrrr yes, bring on the day!”
Try it:
Come to your belly.
Bring your hands under your shoulders.
Extend your legs long behind you and press the tops of your feet into the earth.
Roll your shoulder blades closer together on …read more
Source: Deepak Chopra