It’s safe to say that meditation is here to stay! It’s been steadily practiced in the East for thousands of years and now is becoming an established part of many Westerners lives too.
More and more studies provide every reason for us to stick with it, proving this isn’t a passing fad either. A regular meditation practice produces immense benefits that include everything from stress reduction, better sleep, enhanced immunity, and even rebuilding the brain’s grey matter!
Still, not everyone is meditating and even less are including their dogs in the practice. Meditation is something we recommend every pup parent do to reduce anxiety, deepen the human/canine bond and increase overall health and wellbeing for you both.
If you and your dog haven’t embarked on a joint meditation journey, ask yourself why? Maybe you are one of the many that shy away from meditation because of a few common and persistent myths. If so, not to worry because we’ve set out to debunk three of the biggest to help you jumpstart your practice.
Dogs Can’t Meditate:
Dogs certainly can meditate, in fact, they are natural born meditators. On your next walk, take out the earbuds, put down the phone and observe your furry friend in action. Watch how they easily live in the moment and experience each smell and sound as if it’s happening for the first time, every time. They are so tuned in and engaged that we should stop calling them walks and instead label them walking meditations.
Dogs are good at non-moving meditations too. Being in the moment, here now, is their innate state of being. Find a quiet, comfortable place to meditate and your pup will begin to gravitate toward your calming energy. No training necessary, every dog, including yours, is already a master.
If You Have Thoughts in Meditation, You are Doing it Wrong:
We could learn a few things from the way our dogs meditate. The biggest lesson is how they put absolutely no pressure on themselves. Humans, on the other hand, are sometimes guilty of setting meditation expectations, especially around their thoughts.
One of the biggest myths is that to meditate correctly requires us to have no thoughts, but thoughts are a part of the process. As we begin to recognize our thoughts, we not only distinguish ourselves from them but can use them as a reminder to move back to the breath or mantra. It’s a common misconception that the purpose of meditation is to quiet the mind, when it is really more about being fully present.
Sitting quietly for any amount of time is enough. You can go further by setting an intention to focus on your breath or a mantra and gently return to that focal point each time you notice you’ve moved away from it. This is meditation, and it is not a silencing of the mind. What happens during meditation is not that important, just do it and you’ll see benefits throughout the rest of your day.
Meditation Requires Complete Stillness:
We aren’t going to recommend jumping jacks during your practice, but complete stillness is not necessary to receive benefits. Sometimes, it’s not even possible. Some of those twitches and sensations you feel during meditation are your body’s way of releasing stress. So instead of attempting to control these movements, see them as proof of your success!
Meditation works whether it’s practiced in a cave or in a city full of modern-day distractions. Rolling with the interruptions is as much a part of your practice as accepting your thoughts. If your furry friend needs to go out mid-mantra, it’s ok to stop and tend to him. Just be sure to honor your commitments and come back to finish what’s left of your meditation time.
And if you need to adjust or move, do so. The only requirement for meditation is that you are comfortable, so do what’s necessary to meet that need and you are already a pro.
If you would like help getting started on developing your meditation practice I have created a 7 Day Series to do just that. This program helps you connect with your dog, yourself, and gain more peace and awareness in your life. Click here to sign up.