Month: September 2014

Downward Dog with Izzy

Yoga has been part of my life for the past . . . ahem, let’s just say a long time.  I’ve taken various classes in hatha yoga and in Bikram yoga (was even lucky enough to be “adjusted” by Baron Baptiste, one of the masters of Bikram or “hot” yoga).  I’ve gone to yoga conferences and one of my favorite times was a week at a silent retreat at Yogaville in Virginia.  I’ve taught yoga for a group of my high school colleagues, substituted for my yoga instructor in Florida, and am now teaching a mini class in hatha yoga at the college where I work.  But never have I done yoga with my dog . . . until I moved into this little house and Izzy decided he could do Downward Dog better than I can.

When I do my hour-long yoga session a couple of times a week (I do at least fifteen minutes to half an hour every day, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter), Izzy starts off being a bit itchy.  Sometimes he runs from one room to the other.  Sometimes he brings me his bone.  Sometimes he’ll come right over into my face and gives a soft bark, as if to say, “You go, girl!”  But about halfway through my longer session, when I’m doing a sun salutation or knee-deep in a series of warriors, he’ll sidle up next to me and go into a Downward Dog of his own.  Butt wiggling, tail flagging back and forth, he looks at me with his tongue out, smiling, doggie fashion.  Am I doing this right, he seems to say.

We move through the practice, side by side, him doing his doggie thing — all four feet in different directions, head flat on the floor, eyebrows lifting and twitching as he watches me.  He stays within a couple of inches of me, as if he knows this is a quiet time and just wants to be close.

Once I start meditation, his eyes lower, his breathing slows, and it’s like he’s feeling the calmness and peace that I do.

I had a cat for nineteen years.  She died right before I brought Izzy into my life.  She did yoga with me, too, and it’s almost like she’s still with me when Izzy does his Downward Dog.  Jojo was with me during the toughest times of my life, as well as the happiest, and when she passed, I thought I’d be fine since she had lived a long and full life, had gone blind and deaf and really needed to have a quiet passing.  Little did I know that I’d be broken-hearted.  It wasn’t until I found Izzy that the hole she left was filled.  It took a lot of work on my part to make Izzy comfortable and to help him become part of my world, but he did.  And now he’s as much a part of my yoga routine as she was.

This one is for Jojo.  She was the best yoga cat who ever lived.

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Izzy’s New “Job” and New Friend

He wants to be a rug. No kidding. He flattens himself out, all four legs in different directions, head flat against the floor, and he looks up at me. “See, Ma? I’m a rug!” No matter what I say, which treats I wave in the air, where I move, all that he does is move his eyebrows. He’s a rug. See, Ma? The eyebrows go up and down, the eyes move left to right, but nothing else does.

I wonder what he’s thinking.

As I watch him, I think about an old skit George Carlin used to do (and my ex husband mimicked whenever he had the chance) about dogs and cats and how they communicate through their eyebrows (or lack thereof).   Carlin’s Routine

We always had both dogs and cats, and without a doubt, Carlin was right on the money. Cats are aloof. They are disdainful. They have no eyebrows. But dogs . . . they can be guilty (Izzy knows as soon as I walk in the door and see my slippers on the floor that he’d better scoot to the other room because I don’t like chewed up slippers), and they can be persuasive. (Who hasn’t seen the “woe is me, I’m starving” look when a dog sees you move toward where the treats are kept? The skittering little move they make as they try to contain their excitement when they know they might just get that Milk Bone or Pupperoni.)

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I try to ignore him as he watches me with those round brown eyes of his, his eyebrows alternately jiggling up and down, then popping from side to side. He wants me to understand something and is doing his best to talk to me via dog telepathy, but I’m being human-stupid. Then I give up talking to him, gather my dinner dishes and head for the sink. Suddenly, my dog-rug isn’t a rug anymore. He runs in front of me, shivering with excitement as he waits for me to deposit the dishes in the sink, then feints a dash for the door.

Oh, that’s what it is! It’s the “I really want to go out but I have to be patient for her to finish” dog-rug routine.

So there we go. Walk time.

This morning’s walk was a bit more exciting than the usual. Izzy met a new friend, a chocolate-colored Pug who has just moved in down the street. They’re the same size, the same energy level, and both wanted to play, but the Pug’s mom was in her housecoat, and their leashes became tangled — not something I wanted to deal with at 6:30 AM. More on the new friend as the story unfolds.

Hope your day is shared with a telepathic animal 🙂