Loving Losing with Upward Facing DAWG
I mean, it REALLY sucks.
That last minute can make a different.
The clock runs out.
Five yards from a touch-down.
Your heart jumps up in your throat.
Victory turns into defeat.
The pain, the pain, the pain.
Will it ever END!?!?
When your football team loses–it zaps the energy right out of you.
Come on, y’all, football is stressful.
And getting shut-out of a BCS bowl is a sure way to to create a bad mood.
|Me and my friend (and fellow Georgia fan) at last year’s Outback Bowl in Tampa.|
Now, I know, football isn’t the end of the world. But sometimes, it’s hard to keep your priorities in line.
We sure do get worked up easily, don’t we?
And then—we forget to let it go.
Football. It’s not the end of the world.
So we lost in a tough last-second defeat. And the BCS rankings are completly stupid.
It’s still a game.
But we sweat the small stuff.
We get irked at it and then forget to let it all out.
So the next day, I did what I always do–I hopped on the yoga mat. (I mean, I suppose I could have tried after the game, but even I know enough to know that light beer, bar food, and disgruntled fans are bad to mix with yoga. So instead…I watched a movie with violence. Snatch. Not sure if that was the best solution either, but it seemed to get the job done! Just don’t ask me ever to explain what on earth Brad Pitt’s character says in that movie. Ever. I haven’t the foggiest idea.)
So I hopped on the mat. And I let it out-ish. When we lose a game, or when we lose in life. We keep it in our bodies. For me, it’s the shoulders and neck. I turn into no-neck Lora, which isn’t so much of the sexy. And kinda painful. Headache inducing. No bueno.
So I worked on shoulder openers and backbends.
Opening the heart to grace, so that I can open the heart to defeat. Because if I can learn to love Alabama and the BCS and, yes, even the Florida Gators–I can probably do a lot better on learning to love my REAL-LIFE losses, enemies (well, I hope I don’t have really REAL enemies–maybe just people that are easy to be frustrated about, mean, and make me stressed?), and challenges. Each game, each football season is a chance to start again. Just like each day is a chance to personally march towards victory.
Yoga Asana to Promote Happiness in Loss: Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)
|Upward-facing dog: Notice the shoulder and neck tension!!! (And my platinum blonde hair!!)|
It’s actually kind of painful for me to share this older photo of me doing Up-Dog. (Or is it UP-DAWGS!?!? Just sayin’.) I was really stressed and holding on to mucho tension when this was taken, thanks to a job and apartment situation that were both really stressful. But it is more like the average joe, so worth sharing with y’all. This may be you when you try upward dog. It’s definitely you, if you are not, you know, a super crazy yogi. Or even if you are a super-crazy yogi, since this photo of me was taken when I already had a rigorous daily practice for many many years. As the yoga sutras say, “practice and all is coming.”
- With feet hip-width apart, press the tops of the feet DOWN onto the floor–evenly press all ten toes down, even that pinky toe! (See how I’m rolling my right foot in too far in the above picture? I needed to press my pinky toe down more and work to roll my inner thigh up towards the ceiling.)
- Evenly mash the palms into the floor directly under your shoulder’s and shoulder width apart (or slightly wider) with all fingers pressing firmly down and straighten the arms. Make sure the second (index) finger is pointing straight ahead and index fingers are parallel to one another. (I definitely do NOT have my index fingers parallel and straight in the above picture. See?No one is perfect.)
- With straight legs, lift the thighs, knees, calves, up off the ground as you gently press the buttocks towards the heels and away from your back. While you’re at it, unclench your buttocks. No one wants a clenched buttocks. Think about it.
- Lift your inner thighs up towards the ceiling as you continue to firm the side of your hips in towards the center line of your body.
- Lengthen the sides of the body, elongating the back.
- Lift the shoulders UP and ONTO your back (tendency will be to roll forward, as I am so horrifically demonstrating in my super-tight left shoulder in the above picture), lift your chest, and open your heart. As the shoulders soften down, lift the sternum up. Keep shining the heart forward and lifting the sternum!!
- Lengthen the neck as you keep your shoulders rolling up back and apart. Only IF you can keep your neck long and directly centered over your back should you begin to lift the head up. (Notice, my neck is NOT so much of the long in the picture, I am totally and completely forcing the pose before I was actually ready.)
Note: Not the pose for you if you are pregnant, have a low back injury, a wrist injury, or suffer from that plague of office workers everywhere: carpel tunnel syndrome.
Questions? This is a brief look at up-dog. Want me to talk it through for you? Let me know and I can add a vocal tutorial or video tutorial, as well. Or if something is unclear or doesn’t make an ounce of sense. Let me know that, too.
Upward-Facing dog sure helped me get over my own DAWG’S defeat. It is amazing what a little self-love and heart-opening can do.
Plus, it’s only a game…… Right!?!?