Yogi Dog Abby
My dog turns one year old in a couple of days so this is a nice time to reflect on her life. She of course lives in the moment. No reflection required. I’m the Evolved One so of course I drive myself, and sometimes those around me, nuts with reflection.
I was telling Abby, my dog, about yoga the other day while she was taking advantage of my petting hands. I told her I finished my 200 hour teacher training program. She stared at me. I told her that I’m looking for karma yoga opportunities. She stared at me. I told her I did a pretty cool full back bend the other day. She rolled over. I rubbed her belly. She didn’t look all that impressed.
She finally stood up, did her best downward dog (showing off of course), and yawned. I think she smiled. She’s a golden retriever so they smile a lot anyway.
She ran to get her ball and came back to play. One toss, two toss, three toss – it went on.The thing about Dogs, true yogis among us, is their acceptance. I read the Gita, the Sutras, Gandhi’s work, Mother Teresa’s letters, and tea leaves when I can find them (difficult, as I typically drink bagged tea, but you get my point). Abby just lives. When her body feels like it, she does her downward dog. Once in a while I see something that looks like the Pigeon pose. And she does a great four legged mountain pose. My favorite pose of hers is the 'Tail Wag' and 'Butt Wiggle', with a little deep Pranayama tossed in.
I can’t help but smile when she does it. It doesn’t matter what my day was like. She does the 'Tail Wag' and 'Butt Wiggle' and I’m all smiles. I melt. Talk about a great yoga class. Talk about an uplifting spiritual experience. Talk about it all you want – Abby just does it.
Sometimes, when she wakes up first, she wakes me with a nudge of the bed and something like a snort (early morning Pranayama?). I peer out to see her face, smiling of course, and she’s already doing the 'Tail Wag' and 'Butt Wiggle'. She follows that by a walk across the house and a little savasana in the living room while I brew my tea.
Then, ah, then comes devotional practice. Feeding time. Clearly, food is divine for her. Completeness and full absorption are the traits of the moment.
Once her devotional practice is finished, she typically practices her meditation, staring out the door waiting for the neighbor to leave for work. Her concentration is full; her sensory mastery exceptional – not a sight or sound escapes her.
Then it’s time for her Karma practice. I work from home, frequently engaged in conference calls and other humanly activities fulfilling my illusion of great importance. So, Abby gets to fully be a dog most days, actively engaged in running and jumping with others of her own kind at doggie daycare for three or four hours. It’s her work, her job. It’s her Karma yoga.
All in all, I’d say she has a pretty darn good yoga practice. She is, in fact, one of my best teachers.