Working like a dog is an expression I can definitely relate to – sometimes more than I would like. The practice of yoga has kept me centered and at peace during my work day and when taking care of my two adorable pets, Pasha & Baby Hope. It would figure that the exercise I love so much is based on animals!
Currently, yoga is practiced all over the world as a form of meditation and relaxation, it originated in India over 5,000 years ago. It is a Hindu practice developed to master one’s body, mind and spirit. In the Hindu philosophy, yoga is one path to union with the Absolute Reality (Brahman). Since western (especially American) culture centers on individualism, yoga in the United States is commonly viewed as a means of self-realization. Further, because of America’s obsession with weight and fitness over the past ten years, many Americans today practice the asanas (poses) of yoga simply for physical exercise, further separating yoga from its spiritual origins. Yoga practitioners include and respect animals in their overall philosophy and lifestyle.
Why is yoga good for people? Yoga is generally translated as union between the individual soul and God, or the cosmic energy. Through following the guidelines for actions, pranayama/breathing exercises and asana, or posture practice, we develop our potential as a human being, and discover our purpose in life. For animal lovers, yoga teaches us that we are all spirit souls. There is a divine spark of life in all of us – humans, dogs, cats, etc. We learn to see God everywhere, in every creature. Of course, people nowadays practice a lot to tone their bodies, heal injuries, deal with their agitated minds and try and find some peace in this crazy world.
Do pets practice yoga naturally? Pets already do yoga instinctively! Just watch a dog when it wakes up in the morning – they start stretching, hence the yoga asana downward-facing dog. Many yoga poses are derived from the observation of animals. They do poses when they need!
Why is yoga a great exercise for animal lovers? Yoga teaches us compassion, tolerance and respect for all creatures, because of the recognition of the soul. Animal lovers can develop more and more of these qualities which every single human being needs to work on. That will make them better human beings, and animal lovers as well. Yoga practitioners should respect all life!