Monday, January 23, 2006

Downtown Dog

I've been curious about the Dog Yoga class ("Doga") offered at East Yoga and finally got myself down to the East Village (what else is new?) to try the class.

It's taught by Kari, the owner of the studio, who has also worked as a vet technician and who continues some work as a dog trainer ("animal behaviorist"). Not one to shy away from the limelight, Kari has been starring with her five-year old Husky mix, Charlie on K9 Karma on Animal Planet, which I've discussed in the past. Apparently, Kari has quite the publicity machine going, or else I never would have been aware of Doga's existence. Yesterday was no exception: there were members of the press observing and filiming the class.

I came with Brian, Adam and Lewis, sort of, kind of against my better judgement. You see, Lewis is incredibly tolerant of Brian and Adam - extending even higher levels of tolerance towards Adam who mushes him and crowds him and wakes him from comfy naps. But tolerance isn't the same thing as deep, abiding love, and frankly, I don't know what I was thinking in bringing my human puppies with me to Doga. It seems to me that in Lewis's mind, I am the Alpha, whereas the "huppies" (human puppies), as I imagine he thinks of them, are just a minor annoyance on the road to having the Alpha's attention, love and lots of good food and sleep.

We laid out our mats, and all was well, Lewis was sniffing around, but fairly calm. Then Kari walked in with Charlie. WITHOUT A LEASH. Poor Lewis, wearing his leash, promptly began barking and howling at Charlie. Charlie showed his teeth, but a quick word from Kari calmed him. I just sat there, apologizing, saying that I had never seen Lewis react that way before. But I knew it was because of the leash. You put a dog with a leash in a dog run, all the other dogs are going to pick on the leashed dog. Well, the converse is true too: you introduce an unleashed dog to a dog that is leashed, there's going to be tension. The leashed dog is going to feel as if he has been unwillingly put into a subsmissive position. The natural reaction is to show how Alpha he really is. Hence all the noise coming from my hound.

I asked Kari if I could unleash Lewis. She said no. It suprised me that she would put the dogs (and owners) in this position, having her dog off leash, but requiring the rest of us to have our dogs leashed. But whatever, it's her studio, so I wanted to do things her way and make no waves.

As for the yoga - well, Lewis couldn't really focus. There was no music - another surprise for me. I was sure there would be yoga music, to which Lewis blisses out reliably. Without the yoga music, we had to rely upon sheer luck to get Lewis, a hound with a great deal of energy and a huge desire to socialize with other dogs, to chill on his mat. And then there were the huppies, competing with each other and me to be doing the "doga", all with a dog that wasn't really cooperating anyway. The closest we got to actually doing some "doga" together was in half-seated spinal twist. Lewis and I (inadvertently) twisted in opposite directions.

Kari said it made for a really good picture.

I suppose it might be worth it to try Doga again, WITHOUT the huppies, and after having taken Lewis to the Tompkins Squrare dog run FIRST, so that Lewis can jump his jiggles out first.

Afterwards, the press interviewed us. The question was, "What were you hoping to get out Doga?" I said something really boring - I wanted to bond with my dog and my kids and maybe introduce him to a bit of informal training. What I should have said, and what would have been more true, is that I yoga is a really huge part of my life, and I wanted to share it with my kids and my dog. I overheard another girl in the class saying that she felt that she shared a "spiritual connection" with her chihuahua and that the class reinforced that spiritual connection.

See Yoga Chickie's eyes roll.

Good practice today. Yesterday, I was suffering some really uncomfortable back spasms. During P&P class, Sir told me that I needed to practice, injured or not. And voila, my spasms are vastly reduced today, and all seems copacetic.

Sir suggested today that perhaps some of yesterday's "injury" was located in my head. I KNOW he is right. I have so much anxiety and fear whenever I feel a new ache or pain. The only thing to really DO is practice.

YC

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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.

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