March 18, 2010

What’s a downward dog, you ask?!

It’s just the most famous and highly practiced yoga posture of all time, that’s all!

If they gave out Oscars for yoga, this pose would have won Best Picture and, I’m sure, a lifetime-achievement award.

For me, it is the quintessential pose and one that inspires me each and every time I practice yoga.

I don’t think I’ve ever done a yoga class without a few downward-facing dogs thrown in. In fact, the downward dog is typically a pose that is done many times throughout a class. It is a restorative pose and one that strengthens and stretches almost every muscle in the body, especially the back. My back would like to thank the downward-facing dog for the many hours of pain relief it has provided.

When I first start a class, my body struggles to move into this pose, and my heels aren’t even close to being flat on the ground. They say some people will never get their heels to touch the ground in this pose, and I’m pretty sure I’m one of those people. That first downward dog is always tough, and I feel my inflexible gene kicking into high gear. As the class continues I push myself to get what I came for, my body warms up, and, miraculously, by the end of class, that downward dog feels oh so good as it stretches out my lower back, arms, legs, and I’m getting those heels just a little closer to the floor every time…aahh, I love yoga!

The first time I did yoga was about seven years ago. I started practicing with a wonderful instructor, and I knew immediately that yoga was the elixir I needed to calm my stress levels and to heal the tightness and pain in my back, neck, and shoulders. As with all things that are good for you, I quickly fell off the bandwagon of yoga healing. Not because I didn’t like yoga—I loved yoga—but because there just wasn’t enough time in the day.

Life changes (thankfully) and a few years ago I made it back to a yoga studio with a crooked back and a lot of healing to do, ready to take on a new yoga journey. I have been addicted to the yoga high ever since and today am proud to say that I am a certified yoga instructor. I never make the excuse that there is not enough time in the day. Yoga has brought acceptance, balance, and calm to my life, and if that wasn’t enough, it took away my back pain! I am growing spiritually and getting more flexible each and every day. I truly feel that yoga is the key to keeping my body in shape; no hip replacements or walkers for me. Yoga is going to make me a lean, mean fighting machine way past 50 and beyond.

The Daily Downward Dog is dedicated to sharing my journal of cool yoga experiences as I journey through the amazing spiritual worlds of yoga and meditation, along with this thing called life thrown in. My goal is to share the benefits of yoga for people over 40 and to help bring relief to the back-pain sufferers of the world. I want to demystify yoga, make it for all us inflexible people, mash it up with some great  music, celebrate the spiritual healing, and help you do it all on a budget.

Have you always wanted to try yoga, but don’t know where to start? The Daily Downward Dog will provide the information and a little mojo to get you started on your very own yoga journey. Hope to see you in a yoga class soon.


The Daily Downward Dog Mantras

You don’t have to rub crystals and listen to Yanni to get into yoga.

Regular use of a yoga mat can help you kick aging in the ass.

Mean people suck.

Deep breathing is the most affordable stress reliever on the market.

Yoga shouldn’t be expensive.

Laugh out loud every day.

Practice seva. Pay it forward the yoga way.

Yoga is for inflexible people.

Yoga rocks!

Don’t be afraid to take risks both on and off the yoga mat.

Friends and family are your most precious commodity.

Yoga is the best therapy, alternative medicine, and legally attainable high!



Here’s a few related blogs you might like:

Yoga MatsThe Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Yoga

My Back Has Never Felt Better–Yoga for Scoliosis

The ABCs of Yoga

Disclaimer: Before starting any new exercise routine, please consult a doctor, especially if you are pregnant, or have existing injuries or illnesses. The articles on this blog are meant to inspire you to give yoga a try, but you know your body best, so please only do those exercises that feel right for you.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy November 2, 2010 at 11:09 AM


Ah, we do sound like kindred spirits! I’m glad we have found each other on this journey…..perhaps we can form our own rock band and tour and teach yoga, now there’s an idea!



Jodi Gilmore-Aldrich December 15, 2010 at 8:16 AM

Awesome blog you’ve got going on here! Love it! I think I will add this to my list of frequent to visit.
Om shanti!
Jodi :)
(I sat next to you in YTT this past weekend)


Kristin November 2, 2011 at 7:27 AM


I just signed up to get the Daily Downdog. Nothing like yoga! I’ve been practicing for almost 2 years and I can’t imagine letting a day go by without sticking my tail in the air.
The YMX clothes are beautiful. I just cleaned out a bunch of clothes, finally getting rid of my HUGE Gap turtlenecks I would hide in. So, my favorite is the Henna Bloom turtleneck. Amazing color.




Susan February 9, 2012 at 8:12 AM

I took your class at Firefly Beach this past summer and I am looking forward to doing it again this year. I have been working out on my mat daily and think that I have improved my practice. When will you start beach classes?


Heather March 19, 2012 at 7:49 AM

Just a note to say I love your site – thank you for sharing your beautiful wisdom, Maria. Peace, Heather


Ember April 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Maria, were you looking for a roomie at the Tadasana festival or do you know someone who is? I am flying in from Colorado, and need someone to split a room with.

In Peace,
Ember Miller


Dorsey DeMaster May 24, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Is there a way to sign up for a newsletter? If yes, I cant locate it.


Maria May 28, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Yes – there is a newsletter sign up. If you go to the home page – in the second column, right next to the blog posts there is a gold and orange box that says Subscribe to the D.D.D. and there are fields below it to enter in your name and email address. When you fill out those fields and submit you will get an email that will ask you to confirm your email address and then you will be registered to receive our email updates.

If you have any trouble finding it – please let me know.


Laura August 16, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Your mantras are hilarious and awsome!


Jesse Herbert October 28, 2013 at 3:54 PM


This week I’m doing a little spoof of the Hunger Games called Yoga Games to highlight the yoga mat strap that I make. Here is the link in case you are interested:




Maria Paxton January 23, 2014 at 4:48 AM

Dear Maria,

I’m writing to you from London College of Osteopathy, one of the few schools to offer an Online Master’s Certificate in Osteopathy to yoga instructors. A growing number of practitioners worldwide are seeking training in this holistic medicine as yoga and osteopathy share many similarities.

Both disciplines determine health by one’s physical balance and emotional well being
Postural alignment, joint mobility, and diaphragmatic flexibility are essential components of good health
The human body, given the right support, has an inherent capacity to heal itself

The Master’s Certificate Program builds a solid body of knowledge in the osteopathic approach allowing yoga teachers to enhance their scope of practice.

We are very interested in your site and the possibility of presenting our program(s) to your readership.

Please contact me to discuss a future collaboration.

Maria Paxton


Sharon Mackert August 27, 2014 at 11:57 AM

We’re on our way to Vermilion from Virginia. Want to take class with you tonigt.
AtWhich location will you be teaching, Firefly or Maine Street?


Maria @dailydownwarddog August 27, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Hi Sharon:

Class tonight is at Firefly Beach in Huron and starts at 7:30 PM.

Woo hoo – it will be great to see you this evening. I’ve got classes all weekend too…
Friday Main Street at 8:30 am
Sat & Sun 8:30 AM at Firefly Beach
Monday Labor Day 8:30 at Main Street

Also on Saturday after beach yoga there will be paddle boards for rent at Firefly Beach. If you want more info on that click here: http://dailydownwarddog.com/suptember/

Safe travels!


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Himix January 21, 2016 at 9:44 AM

People often refer to dogs as “man’s best friend”. I believe Downward facing dog is a “Yogi’s best friend”.


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