Lessons from my puppy
I am newly inspired.
By my dog.
Now, I have been mostly a cat person for 20 years, not having lived with a dog since childhood. Cats are easy- they sleep a lot, poop in a littler box and think about coming or taking a message when you call them. They are clean, soft and cuddly and I just adore them. A dog was always something I thought I would get once I had children; but I continued to come up with a million reasons not to bring one into the household.
This summer shook things up. My family hiked across England and came across many Brits out walking with their dogs. The kids started to scheme and by the time we returned to the states, they had devised a presentation to convince Mark and me to adopt a dog. Within weeks, we had Orlando, a mixed breed puppy from the wonderful rescue organization, Animal Alliance. I suddenly had to start thinking about Orlando’s care many times during the day, planning out when he would be taken outside for a walk or run, when he would play or work on his puppy behavior training, and where he would come out with one of us to be better socialized. It has truly been like having a third child! As much work as it has added to my daily life, it has magnified my heart in many more ways. Getting to know Orlando and training him to be successful in life has reinforced some wonderful lessons that parallel my yoga practice on and off the mat.
1) Wake up each day with enthusiasm. Each sunrise should be rejoiced. I want to greet the day, other family members and my yoga practice as wholeheartedly as this sweet puppy greets me. It makes my heart pitter-patter to see his whole face and body light up with pure joy.
2) Be consistent with what you demand and you will get results. With Orlando, like other puppies, his comfort is fostered by clear expectations and requests. He wants to know the rules, to follow them and to be pleasing and loved. So simple. But, like practicing yoga, it takes discipline and consistency to get the desired outcome.
3) Revel in the “wins” and wag your tail more! Celebrate when your pup gets things right just as we should embrace the small changes we make in our yoga practice. Whether it’s understanding the mechanics of a pose better or simply breathing deeply instead of yelling in frustration, we should all feel that wag of the metaphorical tail when we apply our practice in life.
4) Love unconditionally. It really is true- dogs just love, love, love (when given a home so ADOPT your pupJ). We gain everything by loving ourselves- our bodies, our patience, our efforts, our failures- and we lose nothing in that endeavor. So, love big and throw in some Down Dogs every day in honor of these lessons we receive from our canine companions.
Thank you, sweet Orlando. Love you mucho, sweet puppy.
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