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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Doggedly Seeking Doga Pushups

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
So take a guess where I started with my yoga pushups. Yup, on the wall. And to be honest, that's still where I do the majority of them. #fessuptime

My upper body strength has always been a challenge in tasks that involve my whole body. I'm 5'10" tall, so that's a lot to leverage. I'm not making excuses, but I hope I'm giving you some inspiration; there is hope. :)  Despite my inability to do a series of pushups that look like they should, I can do pushups from my knees. I started with a little less than a straight body position, but have improved greatly. Practicing the plank position seen at the top is the best thing I've learned. This really makes you engage all your muscles and work them all at the same time. Psst--I think my bum is getting a bit firmer :)

The dogs are great when I'm working on this pose. They eyeball me as if to say "You've got this, Mom". I doubt I'd practice these buggers if I didn't have my cheerleaders here to support me. Oliver often offers a play bow, while Tanner's constant presence gives me strength.

The wall versions are quite another thing though. Not only do I do these daily, but I like doing them. They stretch my chest, help strengthen my neck where I have injuries, work all of my upper body, and are a great excuse to get out away from my desk and focus on something else for a few minutes when I'm stuck on a problem. It's amazing how much mental clarity yoga brings me. Sometimes I'll return to my desk after a few #doga poses and find that all my problems were simply fuzziness of thinking. I'm starting to take more frequent breaks, and the dogs are loving the bonding time. Met too!

Notice in these images that I've demonstrated two leg positions. Each will feel a bit different, but most people will find the wider stance is easier in the beginning. You can also try working further away from the wall to add more difficulty, when you're ready.

What I neglected to photograph was the arm positions. Try experimenting with two versions: elbows out and elbows down along the ribcage. If you have any shoulder issues, you may find the elbows down position will be more comfortable, and therefore more productive.

Finally, when working with your elbows out as shown above, you can also face your fingers inward, as opposed to upward. If you have wrist or forearm issues, try both options to find the one that works most comfortably for you.

You may enjoy watching the short instructional video at my original post for more tips.
And when you're ready to work on other poses, you'll find the whole list of #doga videos here. 

Now that I've gotten my two toughtest poses out of the way, the #doga sessions will not only get easier, but also more fun. Prepare to get your pup involved more as we progress into poses that have more and more options. I'll be back soon with some variations on the rest of the poses in our All Things Dog Blog Doga series. See you soon!

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If you're new to Doga or Yoga, please be sure to do these three things: (1) Get your doctor's permission to start a yoga workout, (2) Check with your vet to make sure your dog is able to participate in simple Doga exercises safely, and (3) visit our introductory post where I've outlined a few tips that will help your experience go more smoothly and enjoyable. Keep in mind that you can always stop if a pose is uncomfortable, returning to a relaxing pose.


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