The Rottweiler on my Yoga Mat

IMGP0693 2Starting a blog on the day after New Years may just be as cliche’ and annoying as going to the gym; you feel like a noob and everyone else seems to know what they’re doing.  But after hesitation after hesitation, I decided to try this blog thing out for no other reason than to give the space to share the kernels of truth (if I can even be so presumptions to claim that) that I see in everyday life.

Today’s initial post isn’t really all about me, however.  It’s about Atticus, our 20 month old, 90 lb Rottie.  Tuesday was New Year’s Eve, and after a long two day trip from Beaumont, where my wife’s family resides, I looked forward to a little quiet time on my mat to unwind.

However, whenever the blue mat hits the floor, Atticus is often mistaken in believing I am spreading it out for him.  When it’s nice outside, I sometimes put him in the yard, or I go in the yard and he stays in the house.  Either way, he scratches at the door mercilessly.  He is, to be blunt, hard to ignore.

As such, I’ve decided that having the dogs around when I get on my yoga mat isn’t the worst thing in the world.  There are times where it is positively sublime.  For instance, on Tuesday as I began in child’s pose, Atticus lay down on the mat, wedged his giant battering ram of a head in between my head and shoulder and sat there quietly.  I could hear and feel his pulse through his head, and he was very, very still.  Very synergistic, very cool.

At the least, I see my dogs as a welcome distraction.  A book I’ve been reading recently posited that meditation isn’t simply about creating the inner peace within, but also being able to encounter the world without with that same peace, regardless of the circumstance.  Such is a lofty goal, and when Atticus and Juno, our husky, run around me as I try to balance in a half moon, it certainly makes it more of a challenge to breathe through it and maintain a standing position.  Last week, in fact, Atticus began nibbling on my toes when I was in a bird of paradise, and I was more impressed that it didn’t bring me crashing down to the ground than anything.

But New Year’s Eve brought a breaking point.  It came as I was in a supta baddha konasana, one of my favorite resting poses, but one that has a certain vulnerability for males, if you catch my drift.  Atticus decided this was a good time to play one of his favorite games: lay the squeaky toy on your lap and see if he can snatch it before you can.  I loathe this game when it’s on my lap, because it has resulted in my fingers being bitten any number of times.  And though I’ve tried to get him to stop, he is still a puppy.  The problem, however, is that he decided to lay his toy right on top of my man parts, and then start the “nibbling.”

I freaked.  Very un-yogi like, I grabbed the toy, threw it in the adjacent closet, slammed the door, and yelled “Go Away!!”  He slunk into the living room, his fun over.  I for all the world tried to act like nothing had happened and get back into the pose, but of course this was impossible.  It’s a little difficult to get into a gentle breathing rhythm after such a threat to one’s livelihood.

But I’ve been mulling on the moment for a couple of days.  Maybe a meditative act like yoga helps you to deal with the world with peace and tranquility.  But this doesn’t mean being so passive as to allow destruction to yourself.  Sometimes, when the Rottie has placed his squeaky toy on your groin and dared you to grab it before he does–with his Rottie teeth–you have to sit up and say the game is over.

Happy New Year, everyone.

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