Most of you who know me, have heard about my dogs, Bodhi, Arthur and Tig. They are all completely different shapes and sizes; Tig is a 11 year old Lab, Arthur a deaf 2 year old terrier cross and Bodhi, a 16 week old mongrel that looks like a whippet (as I type this, I have one on my lap, one trying to get on my lap and the third asleep on the floor)
Dog pose in it's full glorious sanskrit is know as Adho Mukha Svanasana; the translation is Downward Facing Dog; it is also known as Mountain, as the body looks like a mountain, it's peak being the pelvis. There are numerous benefits to this pose and the feeling it gives to the body is different to everyone. Which makes me think about my dogs.......
Tig as a Lab with a strong stout body looks very different as she stretches downward when compared to Bodhi who is all legs and deep chest. As breeds, and non-breeds, they behave differently; Bodhi runs fast for short bursts, Tig is happy to walk for miles and Arthur, well he'd be constantly cuddled if given the chance. In our day to day life, what we do with our bodies and how we live impacts how we move. If we are desk bound with little movement during our day at work, this can be reflected in shoulders and hips; if we are runners, probably tighter quads and thighs due to the way the muscles are used, if we are tense, the psoas can be tight, affecting the lower back.
So practice your dog and be in tune with your body. Bodhi lengthens through her spine, brings her shoulders inwards to the vertebrae. Tig, when feeling her age, softens her joints, so nothing is pushed, and Arthur's little legs with their double joints makes his dog like "puppy" pose.
We can learn a lot from how dogs move when they stretch; next time you're close to one, watch them and notice how they move and you'll see why the pose is called Downward Facing Dog.