Yoga lessons from my dog

I miss my dog.  She passed away 2.5 years ago after a serious illness.  Because I’m a vet, people often ask me, “How many animals do you have?”.  “I’m between pets,” has been my standard answer.  Just haven’t found the right one yet, I guess.

She was a beagle…mostly.  Others thought she was part Bassett hound, because her torso was so long and her legs were short.  She caught my attention when I examined her for a dog and cat rescue group.  I announced to my husband that I was taking her home but he wasn’t impressed.  The reason?  He offered her a Timbit and she didn’t know what to do with it!  Needless to say, he turned that around pretty quickly.

She taught me a lot.

1.  Savasana.  She would flop down on her side, in this completely unglamourous way, take a big inhale and then exhale with a huge sigh.  She really knew how to take rest.

2.  Pranayama.  Sniff out the open car window, take several short inhales and then a big exhale.  Repeat over and over.

3.  Walking meditation.  My husband and I took her camping out in Tobermory.  We weren’t sure how she’d handle a hike but brought her along anyhow.  Wouldn’t you know, she surprised us.  She insisted upon picking her own path along the way and even refused help on a few occasions!  She was in the moment, walking and sniffing.

4.  Adho Mukha Svanasana.  In canine behaviour, this pose means “come and play”.  She often did a downward-facing dog when first waking up in the morning.

5.  Find your own voice.  Initially, she wasn’t much of a barker or howler.  As she became more comfortable in her new home, she got more vocal.  I could hear the difference between her playful bark, her mournful howl when she thought she was all alone and her short yips when she dreamed in her sleep.

Don’t get me wrong, she had her issues.  There was a yoga lesson for each of these too.  She was overly protective of food (not a mindful eater).   She got tired quickly when walked (go to your edge in an asana and observe the feeling, rather than giving up).  She developed thunderstorm phobia (no good yoga analogy for this one!).

Not all my teachers are of the human variety.  The lessons come from all around me, every day.  Even my dog.

About downwarddogdvm

Just a small animal vet trying to live her yoga.
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