Saturday Yoga With the Happy Dog, Old Dog & Purring Cat
When I unroll the mat, the big, young dog trots across its length, leaving big paw prints, a new pattern to notice in the breaths to come. Meanwhile, there is the old dog, pushing herself up with all her strength to take deliberate steps until she can collapse the end of the mat. I make a note in my mind to be careful not to kick her. The cat watches from the high perch of the top of the bureau, pretending to be bored.
With each Sun Salutation, there’s the adjusting of animals: gently moving the old woman dog back enough so I can get into plank, telling the more rambunctious hound to back off when he tries to insert his large self between my underside and the mat as I breathe my way through downward dog. There's the purring of the cat when I start in Tadasana, looking clearly out the winter window while resisting the impulse to pick her up.
It’s Saturday, and the animals are happy to have us around the house, so what better way to celebrate, they seem to say, then nuzzling along the seams of my practice? They prance or shuffle, leap or spread out, just on the edge or directly in my way through standing, balance and twisting poses. By the time I’m doing some sitting twists, I realize all three are on the mat with me.
For most of us, this is no surprise. Try meditating and every mammal in the vicinity comes out from hiding spaces or up the stairs to soak up the energy. Try yoga on a shining winter Saturday morning, and here they come again, so ready, by the time I reach Savasana, to join me there, one dog at my feet, another at my side, and the sleeping cat on my chest. What better way to open the heart and love the company that shows up to live there with me?