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December 14, 2014: Downward Dog

I decided to do yoga for a half-hour a day because I now often feel stiff and creaky. Also, I’ve recently hit a new low in in-class yoga. Poses that were formerly easy are now difficult. What gives? This has made me appear grumpy and frustrated in class. And in fact, my instructor has called me on this.

I’m now two days into doing home practice. Home practice isn’t as good as going to class because there’s no flow. I also do the poses too hurriedly. At least I’m aware of this. It’s like “I’m Alys and I have a problem. My home practice sucks.”

I also suspect that if I remain diligent that I will begin doing better. I (coincidently) have been writing about meditation and brain wave states in Lessons Learned: Recollections of a Returning Rider. I suspect that brain wave changes occur when one does yoga, and that these changes have a long-range effect. So for this reason, too, doing living room yoga is a good idea.

There’s been a schedule change here. Pete’s now on break, so together, we’ve been getting the horses out at 1 p.m. I have been writing in the mornings and doing yoga from noon until noon thirty. Or at least trying to.

Further explanation is needed. Most evenings, Pete stretches out. I refuse to call what he’s doing yoga because he often listens to loud music and simultaneously plays tug with Ryder. Now Ryder expects that I also play tug with her during my yoga time. She grabs her tug toy (a rope) out of her bin and tosses it at me with a quick flip of her black and white head. Then, when I ignore her, she gets in my face. Having gotten no results, she then jumps up on the trunk/coffee table and leaps on my back. If I interrupt my practice, and put her outside, she commences to bark. If I let her back inside, she resumes tormenting me.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this. I’ve considered taking her to the animal shelter and dropping her off on the doorstep. She’d get a good home fast because she’s a good dog in all other respects. She seldom jumps on us anymore when we’re eating our meals, and she’s now housebroken. She knows the wait and stay commands, and in this respect, she is an ideal trail dog. And she (I think) loves us dearly. I would harbor no remorse in parting with her because she’d most likely end up in a home with several children, all of whom would become attached to her in a matter of minutes. And, I don’t think that if she found such a home, she’d miss us. Pete and I are now old farts who (at least in Ryder’s estimation) spend far too much time at the computer keyboard. And, our getting her to the shelter before Christmas would increase her chances of getting an ideal home.

If you believe what I’ve just written, you are a very gullible human being, for Ryder is here to stay. As I said in a previous dispatch, she’s the dog that I’ve always wanted to have. I actually feel bad for those dogs that are going to end up in animal shelters this holiday season. Cats, well, I feel bad for them too, but not as bad as I do for dogs. I wonder in thinking about such things why humans aren’t more responsible. In other words, why don’t those who decide to discard animals do better by them? The world would be a better place if they did.

As Ryder was leaping all over me, I found myself wondering why Downward Dog is called Downward Dog. For sure, it’s a very cool term. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that, indeed, dogs do stretch out. As many years ago, a woman in my yoga class once said, in this respect, dogs have things all figured out in that they stretch both ways, every day Jenna and Rainbow, our older dogs, less so, but Ryder, a younger dog, more so.

I think that our emulating canines is a very wise idea. However, there have to be boundaries; dogs need to know that there is a time and place for acceptable behavior, and that interrupting in-house yoga practice is an unacceptable behavior. Otherwise, the animals end up running the show.

Here, the dogs do run the inside show. I am only inconvenienced by Ryder when I do yoga, so I should consider myself lucky. It’s just tough, when I who am lying on my back, have to look up at a dog who is looking down into my eyes, and begging me to play. I suppose there are worse fates. It’s just that right now I can’t think of any.

Next: 334. 12/15/14: Up and Down