I love my first downward facing dog pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) of the day. My hamstrings open up. My back stretches. My neck loosens. It’s a relief.
I remember my first introduction to down dog. I walked into my gym and noticed a yoga class was just starting, I thought it would be a nice alternative to the treadmill and jumped in. After our warm up, we stayed in down dog for an extended period of time.
After a few minutes, my muscles were trembling, I was sweating and I didn’t know what was supposed to be rejuvenating about the pose. Then, it was as if my body had an epiphany and downward facing dog became a wonderful place to be. By the end of that class, I yearned for my next down dog.
Now, it is my go to pose when I need to relax, stretch and re-center myself.
I feel the same way about picking up a book. Reading was paramount when I was a child. As a girl, occasionally, on very rainy days, my mom would keep me home from school so we could spend the day at the local library. After she selected her book , we would go to the children’s section and pick out a stack of colorful books for me. That crooked pillar of books looked like a pile of presents just waiting to be opened.
We would settle into a quiet corner with a large window where the rain drummed and read for hours.
Since then, I have always been reading something.
Opening a book gives me the same mindful relief as settling into down dog. My mind goes quiet, muscles relax. I can be anywhere, a subway, an airport, a waiting room, a hospital bed, jury duty or any other of life’s holding patterns and if I have a book, I’m fine.
I always have my eye open for something else to read. Recently I discovered a great reading list on open culture that inspired me to curate my own book list.
Over the years, there are certain books that painted such vivid images, birthed such perfect characters or captured such truthful moments that they became part of my personal lexicon. I never let them go.
So this week, I have featured them in a new page called My Favorite Books.
I invite you to visit.
If there is a book on that list you haven’t read, I hope you pick it up.
On the other hand, if there is a book you don’t see on that list, tell me about it in the comments. I’m always in the market for my next read. Enjoy.