I know some of you are always looking for ways to expand the amount of quality time with your dog, and including your dog in your mindfulness practice is a perfect way to deepen and strengthen the bond between you, and increase your effectiveness as a calm Pack Leader. Mindfulness is a word that is used quite a lot, but in the most basic of definitions it is a practice of being aware, being in the now moment, and being in a state of neutrality or curiosity. There are many specific types of mindfulness practice, such as yoga, deep breathing, guided meditations or chanting. It may sound intimidating, but even the shortest amount of time spent sitting quietly and focused on your breath while in the vicinity of your dog will over time reap great benefits.Here’s some tips to get started!
Plan to take a few minutes after your walk with your dog for some quiet time. After exercise is the perfect moment for you both, puppy’s excess energy has been temporarily expended and it is time for recharging. Pick a comfortable spot, on the floor or sofa. Set the mood by inviting puppy to join you in some quiet time together. Watch for signs that puppy is interested such as yawning, shaking or stretching. If puppy likes to cuddle, place pup on your lap, if not next to you is fine. Now, take a few deep breaths, and imagine a sturdy tree root extending from your seat, as if you were planting roots in the ground. Feel the support of the earth which is cradling you both in strength and stability. Let that strength rise through you while taking slow, deep breaths. Focus on the sensation of being held and supported as you continue breathing. If you like, you can embellish what that might look like for you and puppy. Are you in a hammock, a giant rocking chair, or a cradle? Let your mind wander to whatever feels most comforting to you. If your mind wanders, don’t fret. Accept or notice the thought without judgement, just refocus and breathe. Be in the moment of joy and togetherness with your dog. Continue as long as is comfortable for you, and don’t worry if it is only two or three minutes. Animals are so much more in tune with energy and vibrations, and your dog will be able to sense the calm and well being of even the shortest grounding session. There is a reason mindfulness is called a practice, for it is a skill that is built upon and you will be able to sit for longer lengths of time with practice. Your dog will love spending time together in this way.
Question: My dog isn’t settling down as quietly as I would like. Am I doing it wrong? When we radiate loving grounding energy, we can trust that puppy will regulate how much energy they are comfortable with receiving. Energetically speaking, dogs are much more in tune than we humans, so if puppy moves away then comes back, she/he is taking exactly the right amount for them in that moment. Trust the pup and trust yourself.
More than anything else, relax and enjoy the moments of quiet with your dog. Focus on your breath and the warmth in your heart, allowing the dog to move about freely, or sit quietly next to you. Connecting with your heart and breath and accepting whatever comes next, will be of great comfort to you both. You may soon be surprised if puppy begins to insist on more and more quiet time as you continue to bond in this profound way.
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Until Next time!