Saturday Yoga with the Happy Dog, Old Dog and Purring Cat

This entry was posted on Feb 19, 2013 by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg.
yoga with pets

Ziggy Practices Side-Lying Savasana

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.

yoga with pets

Pushkin in Savasana

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?

About Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the Poet Laureate of Kansas, and the author of 14 books, including a forthcoming novel, The Divorce Girl; The Sky Begins At Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community & Coming Home to the Body (Ice Cube Books); and four collections of poetry. Founder of Transformative Language Arts – a master's program in social and personal transformation through the written, spoken and sung word at Goddard College (Goddard College); where she teaches, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely. With singer Kelley Hunt, she co-writes songs, offers collaborative performances, and leads writing and singing Brave Voice retreats (; and she blogs regularly at her website (

4 responses to “Saturday Yoga with the Happy Dog, Old Dog and Purring Cat”

  1. Avatar Charlotte Bell says:

    My cats love to practice asana with me. Pushkin joins me for standing poses, but they all congregate around me for Savasana.

  2. Avatar Victoria says:

    Hello, can you tell me please if you always had Pushkin with you or you found him somewhere a few years back, after 2003? The reason I am asking, that Pushkin is quite rare name and I lost a cat by name Pushkin, orange, short tail (manx) in 2003. I was so surprised to see this name… if there any chance to hear back from you about it, would be glad. Victoria

    • Avatar Charlotte Bell says:

      Dear Victoria, I’m so sorry to hear about you losing your Pushkin. My Pushkin came to me as a kitten in 2004. We found him when we were staying in Boulder, Utah, in October of that year. He was 12 weeks old, living with a family who owned a little motel where we were staying. Every time I’d walk outside, he would come bounding up to me–so cute. I had lost a beloved Siamese nine months earlier, and after three days of Pushkin–who was then called “Fuzzy Fester”–bounding up to me, I asked the family if I could adopt him. They said yes, and he has been my loving companion ever since. Charlotte

  3. Avatar Victoria says:

    Dear Charlotte, Thank you so much for your note. I lost my Pushkin in December of 2003, right before xmas. Speaking of reincarnation, i begin to belive in it :). Mine was 8 years old, and when I read this page, I thought may be he is alive and doing well in someone else loving home. It would have been great to see even pics of him. He would have been 18 now, may be … anyway. I wish you well with Pushkin. One last question, if its not too much, the name, how did you came up with it? Its very unusual. I ended up with it due to my russian background – the name of the famous russian writer. 🙂 that is why i was allerted to all this story 🙂 once again, thank you for all your responces and the best to you and all your near and dear 🙂

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