That gaze of adoration. That wagging tail. The ever-eager anticipation - could there be a treat, a walk, an adventure about to happen?
Dogs have mindfulness sussed. They live in & love the present. And they sure do love us, their humans, deeply, unreservedly, unconditionally.
We think that they look to us for guidance & wisdom & training & in many ways, yes, that’s true.
But, I realised that I am, no joke, learning more about Yoga & life from my dog right now than vice versa. I was telling my Beginners II Yoga class last night that my lovely pooch Beni takes a deep, deep stretch, a cruisey, elegant (& of course, always perfectly executed!) Downward Facing Dog while he waits for me to do the 'pre-walk' routine, gathering my keys, doggie bags, treats, phone & so on.
After stretching in a very relaxed & enjoyable way, he gently (always gently) lays down, all paws, front & back, perfectly aligned & his head, neck & shoulders all in alignment. Sound like a familiar pose? Sound like familiar cues from your Yoga teacher?! And all done with no muss, no fuss.
He’s not waiting for the ‘perfect’ moment to do his ‘Doga’ (yep, Dog Yoga has now gone mainstream; no, I won't be doing Doga classes anytime soon). He’s not thinking about fancy Yoga pants, the fanciest Yoga mat, the most amazing ‘peak’ asana (yawn, can we get over the ‘oneupmanship’ of elitist, tricksy-pixie poses already?) or some zany, creative choreography that better belongs on Broadway, not in your Yoga practice. Nope, he’s thinking, man, I need, want, crave a good deep stretch right now cos BOY does it feel good.
It. Just. Feels. Good.
First thing in the morning, what does he do? Well first thing, after gazing at me intently & silently from my bedside to figure out if that was another early morning ‘roll-over’ or the actual ‘getting-up’ movements (yay, we’re going walking or running!!!)?
After some lovely effusive ‘Good Morning’ tail-wagging & hand-licking, he performs a lovely long & languorous stretch or two & then goes & does his happy dance around the gaf while I properly shed sleep & get ready to head out the door.
Every now & then, as I work at home, I’ll hear some deep, full, slow breaths, those doggy ‘sighs’ we dog-lovers are familiar with. There’s his Deep Belly Breathing - I see his ribcage rise & fill with that deep inhale & then fall & empty with the exhale. One or two more & he’s at peace, at rest & yup, ready for one of his many (lucky boy!) Savasanas…
Beyond Yoga, breathing & stretching, dogs are the ultimate ‘behaviour/lifestyle moderator’ gurus - they LOVE LOVE LOVE exercise (there can never never be enough!), they love fresh air, the outdoors, they (generally…) love being sociable with their own kind & their human pals (cats can ummm prove an exception…), they love their sleep & generally, are not ones for overdoing the food (ok, maybe Labs excepted…).
Take a few minutes to truly observe your own dog (or someone else’s) & see what ‘Woofie Wisdom” you can glean.
Lili & Beni x