The Puppy Mind

     I'm leaving for Seattle and the Pacific NW today. Remember, if I don't post, it's not because I don't love you. It's because I'm trying not to be obsessive about getting a post in, and getting out and about instead. In the meantime, if anyone has any favorite things or places in that part of the world, any advice is appreciated :)
    The other day, in a post, I mentioned Stephen Cope, by referencing what he calls the "Puppy Mind." This came from The Wisdom of Yoga, his excellent book on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and the Limbs of Yoga. Cope writes, "Meditation teaches the beginner in a radically complete and experiential way that he or she has little or no control over the mental flow." One way to quiet the constant noise of the mind is to, in his words, imagine the mind like an overexcited puppy. How can you keep that puppy from running in circles around you? Tie the puppy to a post, give the puppy mind something to attach itself to, so it cannot run all over the place. In honor of our puppy minds, today's practice will have a fair number of extended puppy poses thrown in there. This pose, a mixture of Downward Dog and Child's, feels great on my upper back. There, breath deeply into the back body, and try to keep your puppy mind in one place.
The Puppy Mind
    There are two variations for how to place the head and neck in Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose). One version has the head resting on the forehead; the other on the chin. Try both; see what works better for your neck. Either way, don't let the weight of the torso fall to the head. The legs and knees should hold the majority of the weight.
  1. Sukhasana (Easy Pose) Dirgha Pranayama (Three-part Yogic Breath)
  2. Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose)
  3. "Thread the needle" in Uttana Shishosana, taking one arm underneath other for gentle twist
  4. Repeat other side
  5. Lie on back, continue Dirgha
  6. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose) raises
  7. Take 4-5 breaths to come into full expression of Setu Bandhasana
  8. Lower hips half-way, rock hips side to side
  9. Garbasana (Child's Pose)
  10. In Garbasana, rocking weight onto forearms and back towards sitz bones
  11. Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose)
  12. "Wag" hips side to side in Uttana Shishosana
  13. Wide-legged Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
  14. Rocking weight forward to wide-legged Chaturanga Dandasana (Plank Pose) and back to Adho Mukha Svanasana
  15. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
  16. Standing Yoga Mudrasana (Yogic Hand Clasp), coming backwards and then forwards
  17. Come back up, with hands still clasped into slight backbend
  18. Kneeling Yoga Mudrasana
  19. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
  20. Cat/cow spine in table
  21. Uttana Shishosana, feeling the sitz bones separate with each inhale, relax with each exhale
  22. Come onto stomach on floor
  23. Ardha Salabhasana (Half Locust Pose)
  24. Repeat other leg
  25. Salabhasana (Full Locust Pose)
  26. On stomach, rock hips gently
  27. Garbasana
  28. Supta Matsyendrasana (Reclined Twist Pose)
  29. Repeat other side
  30. Savasana (Corpse Pose)

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