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    Originally posted by PetiteSheWolf View Post
    Chuckling for the cat / yoga mat, that is the reason I keep mine above my bed when not in use, LOL. As much as I love Mademoiselle Luna...
    haha. I know what you mean PetiteSheWolf . I have a yoga met that 'sheds' little bits of blue whenever I use it but my cat just LOVES that thing.

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      modern_dragon, my two cats love sinking their paws in the mat so I always try to put it out of reach and don't allow them in the room when I'm practicing. In the few times I forgot to put it away, they managed to really tear one of the mats up (still usable, but not as nice). But now that you've mentioned it, this type of mats (open-cell) does attract more dirt, hair, and dust and is a bit harder to clean than the "smooth" ones, so if you plan on practicing asana outside on surfaces such as grass, stone etc. maybe pick something else (or put something under it).

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        <3
        tree pose.
        just saying.

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          I don't remember if this has been posted before (the article is a few years old), but I was reading it today and think it's a decent overview of the state of research (as of 2015) into the risks and rewards of practising yoga.

          https://www.vox.com/2015/7/22/901207...ercise-science

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            So... here's a question for the experienced yogis & yoginis here...

            Puppy pose/Heart-to-earth-pose for the ultra-bendy
            Whenever puppy pose comes up in a yoga sequence I do, I find that it is more challenging than it's supposed to be because my head comes down to the mat without any trouble - I even have to hold myself up actively if I don't want to squish my face onto the mat very uncomfortably. I could try extending my neck so my chin rests on the mat, but that's sort of painful, too.

            What I tried is putting blocks under my elbows, and while that gives me a stretch in the shoulders, I can't hold it for very long. A block under my forehead doesn't work either (I just tense up my neck muscles even more that way).

            I'm a bit stumped - is that a pose I just have to replace with Child's pose? Or have you found a modification that works for rubber-doll type bodies?

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              modern_dragon :
              ​​​​​​​Hmm... I find puppy dog pose not too tough...legs are positioned different than child's pose though during execution. I start in tabletop, then walk my hands forward as far as I can and then lower my chest to ground. Hope that makes sense. The hips are to stay put whereas in child's pose the hips are open and down. I'm sure Rainbow Dragon or Ann-Core could explain better as i believe both are instructors!

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                Hi modern_dragon . I'm not sure but it sounds like you have a lot of flexibility in your shoulders and aren't engaging your arms enough in heart-to-earth pose to support your range of motion. In child's pose you can relax your arms, but in heart-to-earth you want to keep them active to protect your shoulders. You also want to keep some engagement in your core to protect your lower back. It's okay if the pose is challenging. Heart-to-earth is a challenging pose for many people and for most of us is not a relaxing pose in the way child's pose is.

                Work on bringing your chest to the floor, not your arms or your head. (Some people have sufficient flexibility in their upper back that their arms and chin may end up on the floor too, which is fine. But if your chest isn't on the floor, or if you're feeling any kind of strain in your shoulders, or feeling that you're mashing your face into the ground, definitely keep your elbows lifted.) If you're tensing through your neck from holding your head up, the block under your forehead may simply be too much of a lift. Try a cushion or folded blanket or something similar and experiment with the height of that support until you find what works for you.

                The modification with blocks under your elbows is a great shoulder stretch, but using the blocks you need to be even more careful to properly align and engage your arms so as not to damage your shoulders.

                This article explains about the arm alignment and engagement you want for puppy pose, as well as provides some other tips for mastering the pose.

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                  MissMolly - I know Puppy Pose and Childs Pose are totally different poses. I guess my question can be condensed into "What do I do with my face and how do I not hurt my neck in that position".

                  Rainbow Dragon - yes, my shoulders are pretty flexible, I can bring my chests fairly low... but not all the way to the ground (yet).
                  Knowing that I should keep my elbows lifted could be the missing link for me - as a lot of youtube yogis are using it as a "chill out and stretch" pose, I didn't know that it's actually supposed to feel challenging. The article is really helpful; I will try it out with this new info and see if I can finally make friends with this asana.

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                    modern_dragon have you tried it with your hands up against the wall ?

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                      Originally posted by modern_dragon View Post
                      a lot of youtube yogis are using it as a "chill out and stretch" pose
                      Oftentimes when people have been practising yoga for a long time they can forget how challenging some poses are for the rest of us. They'll talk about down dog being a "resting pose" -- and sure, it is somewhat of a breather in the midst of an otherwise quite athletic workout if one is an Ashtangi -- but it's also usually a really tough pose for new yogis. Similarly, folks who have really bendy backs often love backbends such as wheel pose and will claim they are "energizing". I even have one yoga video in which the instructor takes us through wheel pose and then claims "if you don't feel absolutely amazing after doing this pose, you're doing it wrong." Well, I've been practising yoga for > 20 years, I taught a yoga asana-based fitness class for three, and I've had my own execution of yoga asanas--including wheel pose--assessed by multiple experienced yoga teachers. I'm pretty sure I'm not "doing it wrong". But I feel exhausted after practising wheel pose. It's still a really tough pose for me. Every body is different.

                      I'm glad the article was helpful. Good luck in your quest to make friends with heart-to-earth pose.

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