To be completely honest, it was my dog Rita that got me into yoga.
The word yoga comes from the word yoke, meaning; to bind, connect, bring together. So, yoga is connecting mind, body, and spirit. I describe it as going through the body, to quiet the mind, and rest in the spirit.
When I adopted Rita she was a year old, had never been walked on a leash, had never-ending energy, and zero training. We got kicked out of the dog training class because she was a loud ball of chaos and I had no idea how to manage her. Being kicked out of class was the best thing ever because we had to take private classes where the trainer trained ME on what to actually do with her. I saw Rita thrive under focused play, boundaries, and real exercise.
The trainer made it clear to me that Rita needed a focused and challenging way to work out her energy in order to calm down and behave appropriately. It was my job to do this for her. Adopting this dog meant that I needed to make sure she got a long, vigorous walk at least once a day. She needed that walk for mental, physical, and spiritual stimulation. And Rita needed all that stimulation so that when she was at home she could actually relax and not be on alert at all times, or bored out of her mind and eat my furniture.
I had to adjust my schedule to fit in these walks. On the days when the walks couldn’t happen for some reason, I could tell the difference in Rita. She was on edge, restless, and just didn’t seem to know what to do with herself.
Yes, people and their pets often resemble each other.
It is hard to say who needed the walks more; me or Rita. I desperately needed the focused/focusing activity in order clear my head, soften my senses, breath, and work out some of the stress (good & bad) that was buzzing through my body.
At the time, I was working hard as a Pastor in Detroit. I wasn’t married and had no other responsibility or real reason to not work. I didn’t have to pick up kids from school. I didn’t have to go to a work function of my husband. But, I did HAVE TO walk my dog. It was my job to take care of her. It somehow made it okay (to myself) to not be working in order to do this.
I wish that I could go back in time and tell myself that it is actually My Job to take care of myself, as well as my dog. It is my job to find a meaningful way to work out stress, sweat, move, laugh – so that I can do the work I am called to do without crashing into a pile of anxiety, exhaustion, resentment, and boredom.
That being said, I don’t want to put one more *@#!$ thing on my list of things that I am responsible to do. But, a change in perspective is necessary. Working out (yoga, walking, running, swimming – whatever you do to “work it out”) is not a selfish activity to be done when I have time and no other pressing things to do. It’s my job to make it happen, whether I have time for it or not.
I don’t have any other way to end this than to say, look on this website for my class schedule. Find one that you can make happen and put it on your calendar, like it’s your job.
Peace on your head,
**for those of you who are not in Chambanlandia, know that there are most definitely yoga classes where you live. I hope you can find one that suits you.