Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dogs On My Yoga Mat

My house is full of rugs, mostly used to cover up the scratches the dogs have made on our wide-plank pine floors. Lexi, Wolfie and Bisou run and skid and play on these rugs all day long, and the rugs are forever getting bunched up and moved around. But whenever I try to straighten up a rug, one or more dogs immediately get on top of it. Why is that? Does my focusing on one spot on the floor make them think that I'm about to dig up a bone? Haven't they figured up by now that I'm strictly motivated by aesthetic impulses? Do your dogs do this too?

But my dogs' behavior around rugs is nothing compared to their reaction to my yoga mat. The minute I unroll it, Wolfie and Bisou are on it, reclining like pashas on a divan. Is it the smell of accumulated sweatings? Is it the purple color? Is it the "energy" of the thing?

For some reason, I hesitate to shoo them off. In my yogic moments, I strive to become open and vulnerable to all life, so how can I make myself yell "off!" at these peaceable, well-intentioned creatures? I end up doing my sun salutations on a narrow strip of mat while trying to avoid nearby paws and tails and wondering what a true yogi would do in this situation.

When I sit cross-legged on the mat to meditate, Wolfie arranges his big frame so that his back curves to fit exactly along my legs, then gives a big sigh and puts his nose down on his paws. Ahh, I think, this is it. Matching energies. Kinship with all life. Openness to the universe.

Then Bisou comes along, squeaky toy in mouth, lured by the irresistible purple mat and the energies that swirl around it. She shakes her toy around, sniffs Wolfie's face, then decides that the spot between my ankles and pelvis is the best place for her. She settles in and quiets down. Ahh, I think, double bliss.

For a moment, all is quiet.

Then WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF! Wolfie explodes, growling and snarling, having heard something dreadful out in the front field. I open one eye and peer out the window. Nothing. There is nothing out there but snow and ice and winter deadness. But by now Bisou has abandoned her nest between my legs and is jumping up at Wolfie, whose long wagging tail catches me on the cheek...

And I tell myself, back to the breath, back to the breath.

6 comments :

  1. Mika can be in a (seemingly) deep sleep on the (ahem) couch only to spring to life the second the yoga mat is unfurled. In a trice she has planted herself right smack in the middle of said mat. Sigh. I, too, find the behavior too endearing to evict her.

    Tom and I joke that neither of us has stretched our backs properly since Mika arrived. Not only does she hog the yoga mat but she thoroughly licks the face (and in Tom's case the head) of anyone reckless enough to spend much time on the floor...

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  2. i don't do yoga, but i do know that any time i move the dogs are instantly on high alert, even deaf and usually-sleeping old Boscoe.

    and if i bend over to do something--put away a pan, pick something off the floor--they are right there, expectant, thinking i am going to give them something to eat.

    and if i sit down on the floor? or lie down on the floor? they walk all over me.

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  3. i read somewhere that if your dog is being mischievous and won't come to you, lie down. he'll come over right away to investigate.

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  4. Good to know my dogs aren't the only ones with mat and floor fixations. And yes, the trick of lying down or just pretending to be interested in something on the ground will bring a dog right to you--I've tried it and it works. I've also heard that making crying noises will do the same.

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