Upward Facing Dog

During my last year of college a friend introduced me to yoga, which turned out to be one of the most difficult and fulfilling workouts I’ve ever done. Over the last decade I’ve kept up the practice, though, not always very regularly. And since the whole issue with my neck started I literally haven’t done anything. I’m sure if I had tried to find some specific movement or modification I could have maintained my daily routine, but for three months I could barely move at all and I definitely couldn’t be in any position for any length of time.

After the more excruciating pain subsided, though, I still didn’t start back up. Part of that was just plain laziness and it’s hardly the first time I’ve fallen out of the habit of working out because of that. But mostly I was scared I’d hurt myself further. Not from the yoga itself, which is virtually impossible to do if you pay attention to your weaknesses and don’t push past your limitations.

No, it was because of Uschi. See all of my guide dogs have shown some degree of interest in watching me while I work out. Dolly just wanted to be right next to me and no matter where I’d put her in a down-stay she would slowly creep her way right next to my mat. I think it stemmed from watching me go through physical therapy for my knee and having to lie by the pool but not being allowed in. She never got in the way, so I didn’t really feel a need to correct her for breaking the down-stay. Actually, there was a great picture I had of her lying across my mat between my legs in a Warrior II stance; unfortunately, like most of her photos they disappeared in the Great ‘Puter Crash of Aught Six. Yara and Uschi are much more obvious about their curiosity of the actual workout. Always the observer, Yara would just sit and watch me, often with her head cocked to the side as if trying to understand exactly what I was doing. Uschi may well be doing the same thing, but what had me so fearful of her injuring me was that without fail whenever I was done and just lying on my mat she would rush right up and happily pounce all over me. Even worse, most of the time she would come at me from behind my head, standing on my hair and pinning me to the floor while she exuberantly licked every inch of me she could reach.

Admittedly, post-yoga meditation is not the only time she does this and in fact she’s quite happy to pounce on me whenever she thinks I’m prone. I’ve mostly gotten her to be less crazy about it, but it hasn’t completely stopped this weird habit of hers and if she’s behind me I have no leverage to shove her off. And it’s really hard to give a verbal correction with the threat of a dog tongue in your mouth. Yes, I could just crate her when I’m running through a routine. For the record, I did expect that this was going to be how we’d start to fix the issue and for the first few days that’s what I’ve done. But for the most part she has the freedom to go in or out of her crate as she pleases and I’d rather not confine her just for this. And really it’s not resolving the actual behavioral issue.

Anyway, I recently had a doctor’s appointment and was quite displeased to discover how much weight I’ve apparently gained. It’s not an alarming amount of weight, but it wasn’t a surprise either given how my pants have been fitting lately. Given that I tend to walk much less during the colder months this was a big motivational push to get back into an exercise routine. So, I started my morning yoga again earlier this week. I did the most baby routine imaginable and even so I felt it to the point that I seriously thought I might have pushed myself too far and hurt myself. I could have let that be my excuse to stop, but I am happy to say that I’ve diligently done at least 40 minutes of yoga every day since. I can’t quite tell if it’s helping the pain issues since it’s still a bit early and I’m also on a pain killer. I can say that I definitely feel like I’ve been working out in pretty much every area of my body. But the most remarkable thing I can report is about Uschi.

On her birthday I gave her a huge raw meaty bone to nom on after breakfast and she contented herself to the task so completely that I didn’t crate her while I went through my routine. When I was finished she was lying on her bed sort of lazily looking at me as best she could from her vantage point, but she didn’t hop right up and maul me with puppy gusto. Now one time is just a fluke, but I did remark that it was kind of amusing that she turned four and suddenly became enough of an adult to realize the taboo. On Thursday she was still on her best behavior and has continued to leave me be. She’s still pretty interested in watching me. In fact yesterday morning she spent a good portion of time doing her own version of Upward Facing Dog while I was stretching that I’m giving serious thought to training her to do it on command and get a photo of us both.

Speak your piece!

*

%d bloggers like this: