Interspecies Yoga
By Caitlin Gallagher, Cat(s) and Dog(s)

Started on: 05/01/13 15:16:08
Medium: Performance

I live on del playa near D.S. Park and sometimes I'll go across the street to do yoga on the grass. Today I was sitting on my front lawn with my friend's dog and my cat and I thought that it would be fun to do some interactive yoga with my pets. Bubba my cat and Laila my dog were lying on the lawn so I joined them. The first thing we did together was meditate, Bubba was looking closely at the grass so I did the same. I became lost in this environment that I would otherwise had not even noticed. Bubba was chasing small flies in the grass, I noticed a whole new world from his perspective, I imagined myself the size of the bugs gazing up at the tall blades of grass all around me. Next I turned my attention towards Laila she was calmly lying in the grass enjoying the sun with her eyes closed only peeking open when a sound startled her. I too did this, I felt the rays and took in its warmth, I tried to calm my breathing and just be still and content just the way she was. I felt more relaxed more than usually at least it was easier to calm myself and clear my head, by taking in the things that I was feeling and not just the thoughts that were going through my head I felt more at ease.
When interacting with the animals I tried to use what we learned from Barbara Janelle to really step into their bodies and get a sense of what they are experiencing or trying to tell me. During meditation I mimicked the animals focusing my attention on whatever they were looking at, or hearing for what they hear when their ears perk up. Laila began stretching so she decided when it was time to stop meditating and start stretching. She began with stretching her back so I did the same doing the downward dog pose. I watched the animals walk around my yard, stretch, scratch, and sit and lay down. I did some yoga poses that made similar movements to the animal. For example, Bubba was scratching behind his ear with his foot so I tried to stretch my hip flexor so my foot could touch my ear too. It was interesting including the animals because instead of me deciding what pose I was going do next the animal did, it was a surprise and I didnít know what I was going to do next kind, of like having an instructor. My interaction was enlightening because I usually care so much about what those around me are thinking and their judgments that I have trouble paying attention to their actions. Because I wasnít worried about what the animals were thinking about me it was easier to just be present and pay attention to actions and my own thoughts instead of the thoughts of those around me.

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