What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

Hello, world!!

Welcome to my blog

I am so excited to begin my journey on the blogosphere! A few weeks ago, I asked my friends for a nice name for this blog. I received lots of creative ideas. See for yourself-

Yogalaxy
SoreBodyToSoaringSpirit
RogaToYoga
Yogalcious
majestic yogajestic
YogArogya
YogafyYourLife
YogaSamadhi
HealthySpineHealthyLife
YogawhoYogawho
EkaTatva
AbhyasaVairagya
Harmony
Anushasanam
iloveyoga
yogakshemamvahamyaham
allaboutyoga
simplyYoga
FlyingYoga
YogaFundas
PassionateYogi
StandingOnMyHead
Yo!Ga!
..etc!

I’m sure you can imagine my plight – having to pick from so many catchy names! And then – the ‘Aha’ moment came while meeting an old friend 🙂

Here is what happened…

While traveling to Austin last week, I ran into a friend who had done a Sri Sri Yoga workshop I taught way back in 2003. He still practices Sri Sri Yoga everyday!! (I am always delighted to hear that from people!). Out of curiosity, I asked him what he remembers most from the workshop. The reply was quick: “upward dog downward dog!”.

And so the blog name was born!

In fact lots of people have shared the same thought… that they fondly recall the intense practices of upward / downward dog – which we do as part of variations during the classic Sun Salutation sequence. The intensity of the practice and the exhilarating sense of vitality that follows make an indelible impression! If you have done the workshop, I am sure you will agree with this assessment.

In Sri Sri Yoga we do lots of practices and we cover a *LOT* of material –

  • Dozens of Postures,
  • Many types of pranayams (breathing practices),
  • Several types of meditations (many of them based on Yoga Sutras),
  • we cover more than 20 Sutras (aphorisms) from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras… in order to understand the foundational principles.  Including in-depth understanding of Yoga postures, breath-work, meditation, etc,
  • we study a little bit of Ayurveda and how we can personalize our practice based on our unique body type,
  • Yoga and attention to diet,
    etc.

So I was a bit surprised… that out of SO many things we do in Sri Sri Yoga, the practice of Sun Salutation variations with upward/downward dog is firmly etched in memory!

If you are new to Yoga, perhaps you are wondering about the name of the postures – upward dog & downward dog. Many Yoga postures are named after animals – for example dog pose, cat pose, fish pose, camel pose, etc. And many postures are named after other aspects of nature – like the tree, mountain, etc.

As Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the renowned humanitarian, Yogi and architect of Sri Sri Yoga points out- animals keep themselves fit by doing “yoga”. They listen to their body and offer movement in response to their body’s intelligence and thereby bring themselves to a place of exuberant health and well-being. Unfortunately, most of us humans have become insensitive to our body’s intelligence, as a consequence of stress and sedentary life. For example, most humans become aware of the head only during a headache!! We can strengthen the connection (the union) with the body introducing Yoga in our lives. Several postures/movements have been inspired by observing the animals- we can learn from them in order to attend to our own body… and that is exactly what we do while doing the “animal” poses.

It is much more than mere imitation. Yoga encourages being one with that aspect of nature. My teacher used to say – “while doing the dog pose, imagine you are a dog”!! To express it more powerfully – *become* a dog during dog pose! Be a cat in a cat pose; be a warrior in the warrior pose, etc. Invoke the spirit of the pose. In other words, it is more than just bringing the body into the pose. It calls for our mind, and indeed all layers of our existence to come together and actively participate in the pose. This is true Yoga – uniting all aspects of our self into *one* organic unit.

As an added benefit, doing animal poses and fully engaging ourselves in it brings up compassion towards our friends in the animal kingdom! The beasts of the planet have taught us how be in harmony with ourselves.

Interestingly, humans are returning the favor. We are now sharing what we’ve learnt with our canine friends. See for yourself:

(More on Doga here.)

Returning to the original question – what’s in a name? Well, the students of Sri Sri Yoga have enjoyed the exhilarating practice of upward dog / downward dog. It makes for a nice blog name. And it’s easy to remember!!

Coming up in the next post: More on Yoga Postures. Foundational elements of Yoga poses as described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and how we can use this understanding to deepen our yoga practice.

In future posts I will continue to share thoughts on a variety of Yoga related topics – such as specific postures/ practices, Yogic wisdom based on foundational texts, how Yoga can be applied in practical life, etc. I do not claim to be an expert; I do believe I have been a dedicated student, and I am passionate about sharing the joy of yoga!

Your feedback and comments on the blog posts will be much appreciated!

Welcome to this blog!

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