“It’s a dog’s life.”
That’s a phrase we hear time and time again. But why is so easy for our pets to seemingly embrace joy? And what is it about these furry descendants of the wolf that brings us such peace? Could it be that they, too, share an innate love of yoga?
Here are five things my dog has taught me that have improved my life practice, both on and off the yoga mat:
1. Dogs dig pranayama
Dogs primarily breathe in Ujjayi, rhythmically inhaling and exhaling through their noses. But when my dog is having way too much fun and becomes excited, she switches to mouth breathing, as we do, and uses Sitali instead. Of course, she can’t curl her tongue around the sides of her mouth, but the premise is much the same. Simply drawing air in over our tongues is cooling, whether you’re human or canine.
2. Downward Dog feels good
My dog is a natural expert at Downward Dog pose. Her front legs are extended, weight balanced and tailbone high. Although she may not hold this posture long, her frequency visiting this pose says it all.
3. One day the Crow will come
Dogs are inquisitive and possess an overabundance of patience. My furry girl will sit and window gaze for hours, fueled only by her desire to get a bird’s eye view. So I too patiently pause, prepare, plant my hands, place my knees near my armpits and hope to fly.
4. Forgive freely
Dogs forgive almost instantly. Dog owners know this; immediately after I finish chastising my dog — her ears slung back and shame in her eyes — she lets it go. Heart shining, nose nudging, juicy kisses letting go. Forgiving fully is the only real path to peace.
5. Savasana is a state of restful awareness
Resting is reenergizing. Usually when my dog is curled up on the couch, she isn’t sleeping — she’s resting. Her eyes are closed, but her brows dance with movement. She rests, refuels and absorbs the sounds and energy of the universe that surrounds her. I can only hope to get as much out of my post-practice Savasana!
Adapted from YOGANONYMOUS
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