Time for some Downward Doggie, or how about the Pigeon?

Yoga teacher Shanel poses in her new studio

Seriously folks, let’s not talk about the Pigeon.  We can talk about Downward Dog or Upward Dog or Warrior One or Warrior Two or the Sun Salutation…but let’s not mention the Pigeon.  It’s way too convoluted for a beginning yoga practitioner like me.  It stretches muscles you never knew existed. My niece, Jillian, modeling over there on the other side of Planet Earth in Shanghai mentioned the words “The Pigeon” on Facebook when I blithely statused about Doing the Downward Dog.  She said, ominously, “Wait ’til you do the Pigeon.” 

 So, of course, I had to relate this to my new Yoga teacher, Shanel, on the first visit maybe a month ago.  She took one look at my jeans (didn’t have a proper pair of yoga sweats) and said, “Maybe not in your jeans.”

 The following week, Shanel relented as she approved my new pants.  We would try the Pigeon.  I can’t tell you how to maneuver your way into that pose yourself.  I wouldn’t try it again without a trained professional standing by.  But it did result in aches in places you never knew existed.  That’s the Power of the Pigeon.

I am thoroughly enjoying yoga lessons.  The teacher gets an A+.  The student is progressing, well, OK.  It feels so good to stretch like a cat and a dog and a cow and a cobra.  You connect with the moon and sun and go upwards and downwards and feel yourself loosening all over.  There were aches in my left hip after traveling ’round the country.  Things felt stagnant.  Besides a couple short mountaintop strolls and a run on a treadmill, Kathy’s body has mostly been inactive.  It has been vibrating in meditation rather than sweating or stretching or posing.

 It was good to get back to Shanel and her Intention Yoga business.  She just moved into a new building (yoga folks, I think, call ’em studios).  I arrived way too early to discover my teacher not in plain sight.

 However, what an opportunity to photograph windows, sky and flowers!

Sky, window, flowers (the other side of the building)

The above photo was taken after our hour-long yoga lesson.  Shanel, honestly, let me climb on top of her table to get the photo above a window screen.  (Can you tell that Shanel and I have bonded?)  Several times during our session, my photographic eye wanted to snap poses.  But, alas.  I refused to give that voice any credibility while stretching the quads.  Pay attention to body placement!  Keep  feet hip-width apart!  Bend your knee!  Don’t bend your knee!  Breathe in as you move forward and out as you move back.  Don’t even think of moving for your camera…   (This was not Shanel’s voice.  It was my own consciousness, staying present in the practice.)

Here comes my yoga teacher!

An hour of yoga with Shanel goes by in two seconds.  I kid you not.  It feels so good.  The achy old hip infused itself with new life within the hour.  And–here’s the best part–I was able to stand in Tree Pose without faltering for the first time.  Hurray!  No falling over standing on one foot.  No hesitating.  (Well, only a slight amount of shaking; very minimal.)  I grew roots that stretched all the way downstairs and…well, that’s another story. 

Yoga magic...

 Anyone else do yoga?  Do you like it?  Or do you have another practice which your body likes?  Do share!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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27 Responses to Time for some Downward Doggie, or how about the Pigeon?

  1. Martha Bergin says:

    Hurray and JOY about your wonderful new yoga instructor! This sounds like heavenly healing and learning!

  2. holessence says:

    Kathy – I’m back in the saddle after being at the Writers’ Institute Apr 22-25. I loved the virtual yoga workout you just gave me through your blog — it’s much gentler this way. My favorite photos are the “flower, window, sky” photo near the top, and the “magic” photo at the end.

    Do I practice Yoga? Not much. I get up early each morning to practice Tai Chi.

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, virtual yoga really IS gentle, isn’t it? I love looking at rooftop views. You feel like you’re glimpsing another slice of life that is invisble to most of the town. By the way, I can picture you flowing with your Tai Chi practice.

  3. Deborah says:

    I started yoga in December. I have an energetic, really excellent teacher, who is always smiling, even as she is expressing the “pain” of doing deep core work.

    I am still only able to manage about once a week, though I dream of twice a week. I dream of taking my boys on that second day, to expose them to it, one at a time, for the longer day months. My youngest wants to be a Yoga Master and he is forever doing “poses” and asking me what they are called.

    We do the Pigeon and the Frog and the Goddess among others. My tree still wobbles sometimes but it is getting better. My big achievement was when I could actually get up into a head stand, though my plow from there still has a ways to being comfortable.

    I would rather do the $6, hour long Yoga (plus the hour & a half round trip to get there and back) than the closer by $40 for 20-30 min chiropractic adjustment and massage table that only focuses on my spine. I get so much more for my time and money. It is whole body, mind and spirit. It is so very good for one.

    • Kathy says:

      Deborah, I know you are doing yoga now and really enjoying it. I, too, am only doing it once a week, but would like to make time to do it at home sometimes too. Have never tried the Frog and the Goddess. Oh my goodness, so much to anticipate! As for a head stand…don’t want to say “never”…but it isn’t looking imminent. I am actually spending more than you for Yoga ($20 per session) having a private session because I’m not willing to commit to group lessons. It is good for the whole body, mind and spirit. Love how the three aspects work together.

  4. Gerry says:

    I used to love Tai Chi, but I grew weary of the proselytizing that accompanied the practice. I am . . . averse to all forms of Ideological Purity. These days I walk dogs on the beach and listen to the waves.

    • Kathy says:

      Gerry, oh no, there was proselytizing? I am not a fan of proselytizing or Ideological Purity. No. Sounds like you better stick with those walks with your dogs. If I had to choose between outdoor walks and yoga…oh dear…(whispering low so no one hears)…the walks are my first love!

      • Reggie says:

        I feel exactly the same, Kathy and Gerry. I’d rather go for a walk on the beach or in the forest or up the mountains than confine myself to a sweaty gym or a competitive exercise class where I end up doing more than my body can handle and then suffer for days afterwards.

  5. Snoopykg1 says:

    Thanks for sharing the workout….LOL It looks great on as pictures !
    I need to find out more about them. I am a limited and out of shape person with foot problems. I am starting to walk twice a day with OREOZ my new spaniel.

    You are encouraging me though!



    • Kathy says:

      Kim, glad to encourage you! How lucky that you have your new spaniel to walk with! I am really enjoying yoga so much now…want to share that with all of you. It seems to stretch muscles in a way that walking alone doesn’t always accomplish. But walking is great.

  6. Cindy Lou says:

    I have done some limited poses at the end of some of my DVD workouts and love the stretch – I’ve wanted to try more and will some day or tai chi. Right now, my walking in the woods or on the beach with my ‘pack’ is what relaxes and invigorates me. Sometimes after ‘one of the days’ at school, I spend the first half of the walk just breathing in and out and shooing all the negative thoughts out onto the wind – then I can finish the walk with a sense of serenity.

    Love the ‘magic’ photo and Shanel’s bright smile coming up the stairs at you! Namaste, friend!

    • Kathy says:

      Walking outside is the best for relaxing and getting into the flow! Cindy, I have tried those DVD workouts too but haven’t been able to get into a regular at-home practice. Am hoping these times with Shanel will somehow translate into some sort of regular stretching time. Hopefully? I loved playing with that magic photo…it was actually a photo that was blurry and seemed to be a failure. But you could sort of see potential coming through…

  7. Kathy – Once it warms up (we’ve got a ways to go yet), I move my Tai Chi practice outside — barefoot in the grass. It’s wonderful!

    Laurie Buchanan

  8. Emma says:

    Aha!! I thought you would fall in love with yoga. 🙂 🙂

    I have practicing yoga almost not at all in a really long time. I’m about to get back into it (there’s good floor space in our new apartment and free yoga classes I can walk to) and I am excited.

    • Kathy says:

      Emma, you were right, you wise woman! Let me know if you decide to take some classes or get into doing it in your new apartment. I am so happy about your new place.

  9. amy says:

    Hey Kathy,
    Wanted to tell you about a new site I’m volunteering to run:
    It’s for the Range Art Association and has information about art events and artists and such. There will be an art show in Bessemer (you should consider applying with some of your work- the application and requirements are on the blogsite). And, RAA is planning some plein aire events Thursdays this summer, free, just bring your camera and lunch, and meet other photographers, painters, and the like at wonderful locations. More info. will be posted in the futre at the blogsite. Hope you’ll consider some of these events…you’re an artist in my book!

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Amy! I checked out your new site. It looks like such a supportive group for artists in our extended area. Thank you for calling me an artist! That feels good. 🙂 Am curious what a plein aire event might be, though…asked that question on your site, too. Thank you for the invite.

  10. melinda says:

    i don’t usually like to use the word hate, but i hate PIDGEON!!!!!!! oy vay and no way! Mountain pose yes! and ah…. the child pose…. (smile)

    • Kathy says:

      Melinda, you are a hoot! (A pigeon hoot, I mean!) I’ll bet your yoga teacher makes you do the advanced version or something. There was something about the pose that I liked…something…but we were probably in the modified modified pose. Ha ha, funny to see that there’s something you hate!

  11. Okay – you all piqued my curiosity regarding PIGEON pose and the use of the word HATE. So I Googled it and was taken to a YouTube video. Yep – in this case hate seems to be a good descriptor …

    Laurie Buchanan

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, I swear we did more convoluted moves than that. I swear we started that way and then ended up all tangled and wrapped into some crazy pose. But maybe I confused the Pigeon and the snail or something. Laughing. Is there a snail pose in Yoga? Thanks for putting in that link!

  12. Kathy I am wondering if you added a twist as demonstrated here…

    I am a sporadic yoga practitioner and with a frozen shoulder at the moment downward dogs are out of the question. I do find that when I stick with it my body and mind both benefit. I have done several kinds of yoga as well which is always interesting because you never know what to expect and must remain open to being taught.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes! Terrill, you’ve got it. That’s the extra twist. 🙂

      Sorry to hear about your frozen shoulder. It’s not fun when we’re in pain like that…

      What I like about Shanel’s yoga-teaching is her gentleness and kindness and concern for our individual body. Continually urging her students to do what feels right for the body.

  13. pearlz says:

    I laughed when you said you had to take the opportunity for pictures of flower pots in windows, you have captured your class beautifully. I felt like I had stepped in there for a moment.

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