A few days later I shared the experience with my sister, mostly as an excuse for why I hadn’t been practicing. As usual her wisdom for all things Yoga got me rethinking my approach. She teaches a lot of private Yoga sessions which means going to clients homes, clients who often have pets. She told me about one client who’s big Lab had developed his own yoga practice. He would come join them and enjoy a relaxing massage from Katrina while she led his owners practice. I also started thinking about things from my pets perspective. Most of the time I am on two legs, sitting on a chair, generally above them. When I join them on the floor they are simply welcoming me to their space. And truthfully “downward facing dog” looks an awful lot like a play bow. How exciting it must be for them to have me initiate the play!
Once I really thought about it I understood what had the dogs pawing at me. But what about the cats? They share the same space I do. Always on the bed, counter and table tops. Frequently even up on high shelves. What about my Yoga practice brings them clear in from the other room? My peaceful energy is the best guess I have. I’ll be the first to admit I have a high energy personality, occasionally prone to stress and tension. But when I roll out my mat and take a few deep breaths, that melts away. I become an energy my cats want to be around. So with a little perspective I realized that the animals weren’t trying to sabotage my practice, they were trying to join it. So now I focus on flowing around and with them. If there is a cat laying under me I may hold my pose a little longer. If Swota greets my “down-dog” with a smack to the back of the head, I laugh instead of grumble and roll her over with a good belly scratch. After all one of the many things we are supposed to learn from Yoga is to not take ourselves so seriously.